Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two Chicago back-alley deaths, November 20, 1925

On November 20, 1925, 23-year-old Mrs. Helen Bain died in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. A physician, George Slater, was arrested on November 21 for Helen's death. Slater was indicted by a grand jury for homicide on May 1, 1928.

That same day, 29-year-old Anna Kick died in Chicago's Washington Park Hospital from an abortion performed that day at an undisclosed location. The coroner determined that a midwife was responsible for Anna's death, but did not determine the midwife's name.

Which woman, Helen or Anna, found the most common type of criminal abortionist?
Helen. Most criminal abortions were done by doctors.
Anna. Most criminal abortions were done by paramedical professionals.
Both. In Chicago at that time, criminal abortionists were a pretty even mix of doctors and paramedicals such as midwives or nurses.
Neither. Most criminal abortions were performed by "back alley butchers" with no medical training.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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