Thursday, September 03, 2009

1903: Fatal abortion attributed to doctor's work

On September 3, 1903, Mrs. Florence Gaiewski died in St. Mary's Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed there that day. Dr. Ladislaw Slominski was arrested September 4, held by Coroner's Jury September 8, and indicted for felony murder, but discharged by a Grand Jury.

Florence's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was evidently performed by a physician.

Note, please, that with overall public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

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

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