Saturday, February 14, 2009

1925: One of many victims of Dr. Lucy Hagenow

On February 15, 1925, Nina H. Pierce, a 22-year-old white woman, died at the Chicago Lying-In Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion believed to have been performed that day by Dr. Lucy Hagenow.

Hagenow was arrested the day Nina died, at the crime scene, as was Nina's husband, Logan Pierce.

Both of them were exonerated by the coroner on March 5, 1925. But on June 10, Hagenow was held to a Grand Jury on $25,000 bond, and Pierce released, by Judge Schulman.

Other Chicago abortion deaths attributed to Dr. Lucy Hagenow, aka Dr. Louise Hagenow, aka Dr. Ida Von Schultz, include:

  • 1899: Marie Hecht
  • 1906: Lola Madison
  • 1907: Annie Horvatich
  • 1925: Lottie Lowy, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, and Elizabeth Welter
  • 1926: Mary Moorehead

    Hagenow was typical of criminal abortionists in that she was a physician.

    One thing we need to learn from these deaths is that we need abortion laws with real teeth in them if we are to keep dangerous quacks like Lucy Hagenow behind bars, where they can't harm anybody. Simple bans are not enough. They need to be clear and enforceable.

    And society needs to get past the point where pregnant women feel so alone and without hope that they're turning to people like Hagenow for some semblance of help.

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

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