Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Both Illegal, One "Safe," One "Unsafe."

On June 25, 1911, 20-year-old Mrs. Anna Mueller died from a criminal abortion performed by Dr. George Lotz. Lotz was arrested July 5. He was indicted for felony murder. Leslie Reagan indicates that he was expelled from the Chicago Medical Society after admitting guilt in Anna's death, but there is no record that he served time for the crime. In fact, he was free and in Danville, Illinois in 1917, when he perpetrated a fatal attempted abortion on Matilda Tidrick in 1917. Clearly, when legal protection is returned to unborn children, we will have to close up the loopholes that allowed butchers like Lotz to kill women and babies.

Although Anna's abortion was illegal, it was performed by somebody who had the tools and training to perform it up to the medical standards of the time. The same can't be said of the other woman whose death we commemorate today. 

On June 13, 1882, Ruth Phillips delivered stillborn twins. She was near death herself. A few days later she made a shocking deathbed statement to her sisters: she said that their father was the father of the twins, and that he had used instruments on her to cause the abortion that killed the twins and was soon to take her own life. Ruth died on June 25, and was buried on the 26th. An autopsy was performed, which evidently corroborated the girl's deathbed statement, since her father, James T. Phillips, was arrested. There was such outrage in the community that Phillips was in danger of being lynched.

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