Saturday, November 13, 2010

Three illegal anniversaries

  • On November 13, 1905, 18-year-old Dorothy Spuhr died in County Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed earlier that day. A woman named Julia Gibson, aka Timmons, was arrested and held by the coroner's jury. She was indicted, and attempted suicide by shooting on APril 6, 1906, in Michael Reese Hospital. Gibson's profession was given as "Abortion Provider", but not as midwife, nurse, or physician, so I'm guessing she was a professional lay aboritonist.

  • On November 13, 1910, Mrs. Pauline Braasch, age 32, died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed there that day. A nurse or midwife named Elizabeth Burns was indicted for felony murder in Pauline's death. The source has no record of the case going to trial.

  • On November 13, 1926, 25-year-old Mary Moorehead died from a criminal abortion in the Chicago office of Dr. Lucy Hagenow. Hagenow was arrested November 13. She was sentenced to 14 years at Joliet Penitentiary, but was able to get her conviction overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court. 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:

    1899: Marie Hecht
    1906: Lola Madison
    1907: Annie Horvatich
    1925: Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, and Elizabeth Welter

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

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

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