Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A Doctor, a Midwife, and an Unknown Perp

Ethel Hestland, age 30, died on April 3, 1932, in the Oklahoma City area from a criminal abortion. Her death certificate was signed by Dr. Richard E. Thacker.[1] Thacker (pictured) had been identified as responsible for a string of other abortion deaths, including Marie Epperson, Isobel F. Ferguson, Ruth Hall, Lennis May Roach, Nancy Joe Lee,and Robbie Lou Thompson.

On April 3, 1928, 30-year-old homemaker Stefania Kwit died from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day by midwife Pauline Majerczyk. On May 3, Mauerczyk was held by the coroner for murder by abortion, and indicted for felony murder on May 15.

On April 3, 1919, 22-year-old Mrs. Mary Kizior died at Chicago's Jefferson Park Hospital from an abortion perpetrated by an unknown suspect.

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

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