Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Four pre-legalization anniversaries

All four of today's anniversaries date back to pre-legalization days.

In early October of 1883, Mrs. O'Connor, a widow, died from a criminal abortion in Halifax. "Dr. Archibald Lawson, a prominent physician, has fled to avoid arrest."

On October 18, 1920, 30-year-old Alice Jolly died at Chicago's Englewood Hospital from a criminal abortion perpetrated by somebody who was never identified.

On October 18, 1939, Miss Alice Corbett, age 28, of Brooklyn, New York, died from complications of an illegal abortion. Dr. Allen F. Murphy was sentenced to 2-10 years in Sing-Sing for Alice's death.

On October 18, 1942, 23-year-old Harriet Lichtenberg of Brooklyn died in Royal Hospital, the Bronx, from suspected criminal abortion complications. Dr. Henry Katz was indicted for first degree manslaughter in Harriet's death.

You'll notice that in all three cases in which the abortionist was identified, he was a physician. This was typical in pre-legalization abortions. Women, by and large, are neither mentally incompetent nor mentally deranged, and don't merely reach reflexively for the rustiest coathanger in the closet when they decide upon abortion. Read Nancy Howell Lee's excellent The Search for An Abortionist for a contemporary account.


slightly angered Christian said...

And if abortion had been legalised earlier then more women would have had access to the improving medical knowledge and facilities.
So the delay in legalising abortion caused more deaths.

Christina Dunigan said...

How, exactly, would having legalized abortion given these women information about medical advances that didn't exist yet?

slightly angered Christian said...

I said they would have had access to the improving medical knowledge and facilities if abortion had been legal.
I didn't say that all the knowledge and facilities available now were available then.
Learn to read and comprehend!

Christina Dunigan said...

How would legalizing abortion have improved medical knowledge? Blood banks, antibiotics, etc., were all being developed totally independently of the legal status of abortion.

slightly angered Christian said...

I really do have to wonder whether you're not dyslexic or something!

I didn't say anything that would indicate that I thought that legalising abortion would improcve medicine. Any more than I said it would have provided info on advances which hadn't yet appeared.

What I did say was that if abortion had been legalised way back when, then women would have had easier and more freely available access to the better medicine which was available for procedures which were legal at that time.

The illegality of abortion prevented women from having full access to the best medicine on offer at that time.

Do you get it yet?

Christina Dunigan said...

They were going to the doctors and midwives they trusted. Had abortion been legal, these women would have gon to -- DOCTORS! And if you're going to argue that legalization gives you better doctors, I'd like to know what evidence you have that quack doctors who had been practicing as abortionists just retired after legaization. I have three that I know of who not only didn't quit, but started killing their patients.

slightly angered Christian said...

It's really simple actually.

When abortions were illegal, if a doctor or midwife was performing an abortion and something went wrong they were less likely to promptly get the patient off to a hospital for more advanced treatment and care than that available in a doctor's office or clinic.
They'd be more inclined to try to remedy the situation themselves or hope that things got better.

Kathy said...

SAC, what advanced treatment, exactly, would a hospital in the late 1800s or early 1900s have had that a doctor in his office/clinic would not have had?

Antibiotics for infection did not exist; blood transfusions were hit-or-miss (blood typing not yet known/understood); and most medicines fairly rudimentary, and available to the doctor at his office.

And legalization did nothing for the victims of Kermit Gosnell's butchery and shoddy practice.

Christina Dunigan said...

sac, you raise a valid point in that fear of getting caught would be a motive for being reluctant to send a patient to a hospital. Some abortionist dealt with this by having a story in advance that patients were to give at the hospital.

But legal abortionists seem to have retained this unwillingness to send patients to the hospital as well. I can give you three examples (the maximum number of links you can put in a comment).

Brenda Vise died in 2002 after being repeatedly told her symptoms were normal, and after beign repeatedly told NOT to go to a hospital.

Mosche Hachamovitch instructed Christina Goesswein to meet him at his office in the middle of the night, rather than sending her for appropriate care at a hospital.

Latachie Veal cried out for help, but insead of calling an ambulance, or even telling her family to take her to a hospital, they sent her home to bleed to death.

I would love to see a study done on the frequency of appropriate aftercare. How many criminal abortionists had a plan in place for hospital care when needed? How many legal abortionists lack admiting privileges and/or otherwise fail to ensure emergency follow up care?