Monday, February 11, 2013

Seven Abortion Deaths, 1861 - 1992

During early 1861, Dr. John H. Joecken was caring for Mr. Malinken, who was ailing in his Brooklyn home. On one of his visits, Malinken's 35-year-old wife, Caroline Malinken, approached Joecken privately and told him "she did not want to have so many children, and wished to know if it was possible to get rid of her present burthen. The doctor replied that it was the easiest thing imaginable, and that in eight days all would be over." Joecken set to work on Caroline, "and by the use of drugs as well as instruments succeeded in making her very sick." Over the course of several days her condition deteriorated. She died late Monday night, February 11. Joecken was arrested.

>On February 11, 1879, 65-year-old Henry Sammis of Northport, Long Island, got a dispatch to go to Brooklyn immediately. His daughter, 21-year-old Cora Sammis, a Sunday School teacher from Northport, Long Island, was deathly ill. About halfway to New York on the train, he got a copy of the morning paper. There he read that his daughter had already died from the results of a botched abortion. He waited until they got to New York to break the news to his wife. Cora's aunt, Mary D. Betts, testified that Cora and her "alleged seducer," Frank Cosgrove, had met at her house and from there went to the home of 35-year-old Bertha Berger. About two hours after they arrived at the house, Berger perpetrated the abortion. Cora was to convalesce there but instead grew increasingly ill. Cosgrove, who sat up with Cora every night, grew more and more worried. He found an ad for Dr. Whitehead, who advertised that he practiced midwifery, and offered him $100 to take over Cora's care. Upon examining Cora, Whitehead found that she had a raging fever from a uterine infection. He declared that the case was hopeless. Berger offered him $50 to provide a death certificate but on the advice of his attorney Whitehead refused, instead notifying the authorities. Police came to Berger's house to question Cora, who was told that she was dying. With frequent rests she was able to give a deathbed statement, occasionally stopping "to lament her unhappy fate." Berger, who had been sentenced to 12 years, got her sentence reduced to five years.

On February 11, 1905, 17-year-old Leona Loveless died in the Ischua, New York home of Dayton M. Hibler, where she had been working as a domestic for two years. She had gotten the job with the assistance of her grandmother, but over her father's objections. Rumors immediately began circulating that she had died as the result of an abortion, and that Hibler was responsible. When word of the rumors reached his hears, Hibler took his shotgun out to the barn, first wounding himself in the chest, then successfully finishing himself off with a blast to the head.

On February 11, 1916, 42-year-old Eva Krakonowicz died in her Chicago home from an abortion perpetrated that day by midwife Agnes Dzugas. Dzugas was held by the coroner and indicted by a Grand Jury on February 1, but the case never went to trial.

Note, please, that with overall public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. In fact, due to improvements in addressing these problems, maternal mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion across America.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

On January 24, 1985, Ruth Ravenelle got a phone call from St. Luke's Hospital in New York. Her 13-year-old daughter, Dawn Ravenelle, was "fighting for her life." Ruth said, "I was going, 'How can she be fighting for her life? She left for school this morning, looking healthy, never been sick.'" It was then that Ruth was told that with the help of her school, Dawn had arranged a 21-week abortion at Eastern Women's Center. Dawn's 15-year-old boyfriend had paid for the abortion with a family member's credit card. Dawn wasn't given a proper dose of anesthesia and began coughing and choking during the abortion. The doctor, Allen Kline, inserted a breathing tube and went off to do other abortions. Dawn, left unattended, slipped into a coma. "While I was there at the hospital -- they were doing tests -- I had to keep my hand pressed over my mouth to keep from screaming in horror. I kept going, 'This is all a bad dream. I am going to wake up and this will not have happened.'" The family sat by Dawn's bedside for three weeks, playing music and talking to her, but she died on February 11 without ever regaining consciousness.

DaNette Pergusson, a 19-year-old medical assistant, submitted to a safe, legal abortion on February 11, 1992, at the hands of Robert Tarnis of Phoenix, Arizona.During the abortion, DaNette stopped breathing, and paramedics were summoned. The Maricopa County deputy medical examiner determined that DaNette died from a pulmonary embolism.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Abortion is an criminal offense and firstly it should not be there.The laws formed on Abortion Arizona are worst and not all rights.Thanks for sharing this information.