Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tragedies from the 19th and 20th Centuries

Today's anniversaries run the full gamut of abortion deaths, from the self-induced and lay abortion to abortions performed by doctors both before and after legalization.

On January 28, 1867, Elizabeth E. Kimball died at her home
. Elizabeth was a war widow, whose husband had been Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Allison Kimball of the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, also known as Hawkins' Zouaves. Dr. George Beakley was held responsible for her fatal abortion.

On January 28, 1911, 18-year-old homemaker Lillie Hirst died in Chicago from an abortion that had been perpetrated less than a week prior. Dr. Aldrich and Mrs. Treshelling were held by the Coroner's Jury and indicted, but the case never went to trial.

On January 28, 1912, 28-year-old homemaker Mary Balogh, an immigrant from Hungary, died at the practice of midwife Anna Klickner from an abortion perpetrated there the previous day. Klickner was arrested at the scene but escaped. She was captured on November 26 and indicted on December 15. The case never went to trial.

On January 28, 1918, 27-year-old Annabella Lewis, a homemaker, died in at West Penn Hospital in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The autopsy concluded that she had performed a self-induced abortion using slippery elm bark.

Sometime in early January, 1947, Iva Rodeffer Davis Coffman performed an abortion on Kerneda C. Bennett, resulting in her death on January 28 and leaving her husband, J. Raymond Bennett, a widower. Kerneda, though living with her husband in Harrisonburg, was pregnant as a result of an extramarital affair. She asked her friend, Irene Davis, to help her arrange the abortion.

Evangeline L. McKenna was 38 years old when she checked into Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles for an abortion and tubal ligation. Two days after the procedure, she had a seizure. She stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors told the family that Evanegline was brain dead, but they held out hope and asked that she be put on life support. On January 28, 1974, after twelve days on life support, Evangeline was pronounced dead. Evangeline's death, in addition to being a tragedy for her family and loved ones, also highlights the disproportionate damage that legal abortion causes among Blacks in the United States. Though black women are only 13% of the female population in the US, and though they are more likely than white women to oppose abortion, they account for a full 35% of legal abortions reported. Black women, like Evangeline, also account for fully 50% of reported legal abortion deaths.

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