Friday, March 16, 2012

Seven Anniversaries, 1869 - 1981

On March 16, 1869, Magdalena Philippi died of complications of an abortion performed on her, evidently by a Dr. Gabriel Wolff. Although Magdalena was four or five months pregnant, prosecutors had no way of proving that she had felt movement in the fetus, so they could not prosecute Dr. Wolff. The next day, a bill was introduced in Albany to eliminate the quickening distinction in prosecuting abortion cases. This would make it easier to prosecute abortionists like Wolff.

Harriet "Hattie" Reece was a 25-year-old primary school teacher in Browning, Illinois. Her husband, Frank, was also a teacher and principal at the school where Hattie taught. They had been married two and a half years in 1899, when the events unfolded that ended Hattie's life on March 16. And the finger pointed at Dr. James W. Aiken, who seemed to be a bit of a George Tiller precursor -- somebody who would find a "life of the mother" case in any pregnancy. It's a long, complex story, and you can read it by clicking on Hattie's name.

On March 16, 1915, 26-year-old homemaker Hazel Carr died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

Also on March 16, 1915, 19-year-old saleslady Hazel Wilcox died at a Chicago home after an abortion perpetrated that day by Julia Patera, whose profession is not given. She was held by the coroner on March 20 but the case never went to trial.

On March 16, 1924, 35-year-old Selma Jefferson.jpgHedlund died in Chicago's Jefferson Park Hospital (pictured) from complications of an abortion performed that day. The sources says that she died at the crime scene. Nobody was ever positively identified as the abortionist. However, a Carl Carlson, indicated as a person known to Selma, was arrested as an accomplice.

Evelyn Dudley, age 38, underwent an abortion at Friendship Medical Center in Chicago on March 16, 1973. Later, at home, she collapsed in the driveway. She was taken to a hospital, where attempts to save her failed. Her death was due to shock, hemorrhage from a ruptured cervix and vagina. T.R. Mason Howard (pictured) stated that Evelyn was treated at Friendship for infection sustained in an abortion in Detroit, but Evelyn's brother stated that she had come to Chicago specifically to have the abortion. Julia Rogers and Dorothy Brown also died after abortions at Friendship Medical Center.

Norma Jean Greene, a 34-year-old divorcee, went into cardio-respiratory arrest in a Winston-Salem hospital on March 16, 1981. Her death certificate indicates that the arrest was caused by a pulmonary embolism (tissue or air in the lungs) following a recent abortion.

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