Thursday, September 02, 2010

1899: The first known maternal death at the hands of Dr. Lucy Hagenow

Marie Hicht, employed as a domestic on Dearborn Avenue, died September 2, 1899 at the office of Dr. Louise Hagenow from complications of an abortion performed there that day.

Dr. Hagenow was sentenced to Joliet prison in 1900 for Marie's death.

There were a number of deaths in Chicago attributed to either a Lucy Hagenow or a Louise Hagenow. These are the same woman, a physician/midwife who also called herself Ida Von Schultz. The deaths include:

1906: Lola Madison
1907: Annie Horvatich
1925: Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, and Elizabeth Welter
1926: Mary Moorehead

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

What I found particularly dismaying in my research was finding doctors like Hagenow that got away with not only killing babies routinely, but who also got away with killing mothers one after the other after the other. And yeah, the repeated maternal deaths may have been only one of those "all surgery has risks" things attributable to a combination of Hagenow's high-volume business and the poor state of medicine at the time. But it's still disheartening that she was able to stay in business at all. Those of us fighting to end abortion and protect women from quackery need to study the dynamics of how these doctors were able to thrive in their criminal world and close the loopholes that let them get away with it.

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