Saturday, March 12, 2011

Two illegal anniversaries from Chicago

  • On March 12, 1909, Mrs. Kate Blust, age 22, died in Chicago from peritonitis caused by an abortion.
    Midwife Emma Novak was held without bail for the crime of murder by abortion. She was indicted for murder but the source document doesn't indicate that there was a trial.
    Note, please, that with 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.

    On February 4, 1928, 24-year-old Julia Agoston underwent a criminal abortion in Chicago.
    The coroner concluded that the abortion had been performed in her home.
    On March 12, Julia died at St. Elizabeth's Hospital.
    On March 31, Dr. Anton Feher, Dr. Helen Moskowitz, Susie Kosmos, and Manhart Agoston were held by the coroner. The physicians were held as principals. The two laypersons were held as accessories.
    Moskowitz was indicted for felony murder on November 23.
    Julia's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician
    Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion
    external image Illegals.png
    For more on pre-legalization abortion, seeThe Bad Old Days of Abortion
    Source: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database
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