Saturday, February 25, 2012

Two Professional and One Self-Induced

Jennie P. Clark's body was found stuffed into a trunk in Lynn, Massachusetts on February 27, 1879. The trunk, lodged in shallow, icy water, had a human hand protruding from it. It was weighted down with several bricks and two empty champagne bottles. Dr. Caroline C. Goodrich, a Boston woman, was arrested as the abortionist. Goodrich had performed the abortion at her practice, then lodged Jennie with maternity nurse Ella Forsyth, who was charged as an accessory after the fact because she learned about the abortion after Jennie took ill, and cooperated with the efforts of Dr. Daniel F. Kimball to hide Jennie's body after she died on February 25. The father of Jennie's baby, a married man, had asked that she be given a decent burial but took no further steps to see to it that his lover was given any dignity in death.

Dr. Lillian Hobbs (pictured) was convicted of murder in the February 25, 1916 abortion death of 21-year-old Alda Christopherson. The testimony of John K. McDonald, who was granted immunity in exchange, was crucial in the case. He was the father of Alda's aborted baby. As was typical, the conviction hinged on whether the jury believed McDonald, who asserted that Hobbs had performed the abortion, or Hobbs, who insisted that Alda had done the damage herself. The 1917 abortion deaths of Ruth Lemaire and Ellen Matson while Hobbs was awaiting trial likely sealed the jury's decision. Since Hobbs, Dr. Lucy Hagenow, and other criminal abortionists were so incorrigible, it is important that before Roe falls we tighten up the laws that allowed these quacks to continue to practice even after they had injured or killed a patient. Given the degree to which abortion supporters tend to deliberately turn a blind eye to butchers like Kermit Gosnell, the task will be difficult and will probably involve drafting laws that hold people legally responsible when they know about, but fail to report, abortionists who later kill their patients.

On February 25, 1918, 34-year-old homemaker Mary Mayer died at Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. The coroner found that she had died of septicemia following a self-induced abortion, which made her death unusual because most illegal abortions were, like Jennie's and Alda's, performed by doctors.

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