Sunday, July 17, 2011

Two anniversaries and some food for thought

On July 17, 1917, 34-year-old Frances Reenaarot died at Chicago's County Hospital after an abortion perpetrated that day by Dr. A. E. Thomas. Though he was held by the Coroner, he was never tried "for want of pros," which I'm reading as "for want of prosecution" -- nobody felt like going after the guy. Death at the hands of a medical professional, rather than a layman, was typical for pre-Roe abortions.

I have significantly more information on today's other death.

On July 17, 1941, Goldie Crow, wife of Oklahoma City milk truck driver Albert Crow, died of peritonitis from a criminal abortion performed July 2 by Otto C. Lucy. Lucy was a 37-year-old psychologist and teacher, had previously been dean of men at Central State College. He performed the fatal abortion on Goldie while he was out on bail pending trial for the abortion death of Mary Ellen Legge. (When we recriminalize abortion, we need to have laws reflecting the fact that abortionists are habitual criminals. You can't just let them roam the streets at large to kill again.)

Though he was not a physician, Lucy had a listing in the telephone book reading "Dr. Otto C. Lucy".

Albert admitted that he had purchased some abortifacients, which had not had their desired effect. He went to Lucy's apartment in June, thinking that Lucy was a doctor. He told him that Goldie was pregnant and that they didn't want the child. He also told Lucy that he had no money, and Lucy said that he couldn't do anything for him. But on July 2, Lucy went to the Crow home at dusk and performed an abortion on Goldie. At some point that evening he called a nurse, Mrs. Ruth Bowen, to assist him. Some time afterward he returned to check on Goldie, found her condition improved, and recommended that she drink fruit juices and plenty of water.

Over the next few days, Goldie's condition deteriorated. Albert called Lucy, who said he'd done all he could for her and told Albert to take his wife to a hospital. Albert called the family doctor, who also said to take Goldie to a hospital. Albert called a taxi and did so. But despite the efforts of doctors there, Goldie died.

During the investigation into Goldie's abortion, police found surgical instruments wrapped in a towel and bloody newspaper, stuffed into a garbage can in the basement of the apartment building where Lucy lived. Lucy was sentenced to 25 years in the state penitentiary for Goldie's death.

It's also important to keep in mind, when reading about these deaths, that mortality from all manner of injuries and sicknesses was more common in the days before widespread blood transfusions and antibiotics. In fact, due to improvements both overall health and medical care, maternal mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion across America.

For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

If you look at the graph, you can clearly see the lack of any change in mortality trends with the advent of widespread legalized abortion. So why, pray tell, do advocates of legalized abortion get away with claiming credit for a precipitous drop in maternal deaths decades before they got their wish for abortion on demand? Inquiring minds want to know.

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