Saturday, September 15, 2012

Two Pre-Legal, One Safe-n-Legal, All Dead

On September 15, 1925, Mary Williams, a 25-year-old woman born in Mississippi, died at Chicago's County Hospital from an abortion performed on her that day at an undisclosed location. The person responsible for Mary's death was never identified.

On September 15, 1926, 23-year-old Mary Bailek died at Chicago's Lutheran Deaconnes Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed at her home that day. Midwife  Rozalia Ossowska was arrested for the death on October 7. On March 15, 1927, she was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury.

Let's fast forward to 1971, the year after California legalized abortion-on-demand as long as it was done in a hospital. Eighteen-year-old Janet Foster underwent a safe and legal abortion at the hands of Richard Neal at Valley Doctors' Hospital in North Hollywood, California on September 11. Janet's abortion had been a "therapeutic" abortion approved by the hospital committee. Neal reported that he'd estimated the pregnancy at 12-weeks and performed what he thought was an uneventful suction abortion. Janet's brother-in-law reported that she was very weak and sleepy when he picked her up at the hospital. After returning home, Janet suffered abdominal pain after returning home, and called Neal on September 14. He told her he'd see her the next day. Janet felt ill, so she went to bed early. In the early morning hours, Janet went into convulsions. Her brother-in-law and paramedics attempted to revive her, to no avail; Janet was pronounced dead at 3:55 am. The autopsy found that in Janet's uterus was a "macerated, lacerated and purulent male fetus of about 19 weeks gestation. This fetus measures 14.5 cm. in crown-rump length, shows lacerations in the shoulder area, evisceration of the bowel through an abdominal laceration, and destruction of the skull and facila structures." Janet's uterus also contained "approximately 20 cc. of red-brown purulent and foul-smelling liquid with similar odor and color to an exudate on the endometrial surface." Janet's death attrubuted to septicemia due to "incomplete abortion, therapeutic, septic." An LA County grand jury indicted Neal on a felony manslaughter charge in Janet's death. The 1976 trial ended with a hung jury.

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