Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Three deaths, years apart

On July 21, 1907, Mrs. L. Paffrath died at German American Hospital in Chicago. The coroner's jury determined that she had died from an abortion performed. They held two midwives -- Alice Rastone and Hacrone Schuetner -- responsible. Another woman, Alice F. Gustafson, whose profession is given as "abortion provider" was also arrested.

On July 21, 1916, Miss Elizabeth Radcliffe died in Olney, Illinois. An autopsy confirmed pregnancy, but showed no external signs of violence and all her reproductive organs appeared normal. However, upon cutting open her heart, air escaped. There were also signs of air embolism in the brain. There were no lung lesions to explain the air in Elizabeth's bloodstream. Investigation found that a man had discarded some sort of abortion instrument while going to the sanitarium. The instrument was located. The man in question, who had admitted to friends that he was familiar with such an instrument, was Roy Hinterliter. Hinterliter had showed up at a sanitarium with the unconscious Elizabeth in his buggy. Hinterliter was held without bail after the coroner's jury verdict.

On July 21, 1923, 28-year-old Mrs. Mary Federowicz died at Chicago's St. Mary's Hospital from complications performed that day. Mrs. Anna Mithnewicz, whose profession was not given, was identified by the coroner as the person responsible, but no arrest was made.

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

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