Sunday, November 15, 2009

1901: Doctor's work leaves woman dead

On November 15, 1901, 22-year-old Irma Brown of Garden City, Kansas, died at County Hospital from complications of an abortion performed there that day.

Dr. Robert E. Gray was arrested November 19 and held without bail by Coroner's Jury.

On March 26, 1902, Gray was acquitted by a jury.

Irma's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was 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.

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