Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Three "Safe Abortions" That Resulted in Women's Deaths

Today's anniversaries are all due to illegal abortions, two perpetrated by physicians and one by a midwife. This would put them all solidly in the category of "safe abortions" as defined by the abortion-rights movement.

Dr. Mike Roberson was convicted and sentenced to two to five years for the abortion death of 23-year-old Miss Irma Louise Robinson, a schoolteacher from Raleigh, North Carolina. A man named M. H. Davis said that he'd paid Roberson $50 to for the abortion, perpetrated in Roberson's office on June 1, 1928. The pair had made a total of four trips to arrange the abortion, Davis said, and he had waited in the waiting room of Roberson's practice while Irma had gone back to have the abortion done. He was there, he said, when Roberson gave Irma aftercare instructions and sent her to the home of Mrs. E. E. Forsythe, who was paid $40 to care for Irma as she recovered. The next day, Irma became seriously ill and was taken to the hospital where her condition deteriorated until she died on June 19.

On June 19, 1922, homemaker Veronica Maslanka, a 26-year-old Polish immigrant, died in her Chicago home from complications of an abortion performed there that day. The coroner identified midwife Mary Pesova as the person responsible for Veronica's death.

On June 19, 1908, Philadelphia police indicated, 27-year-old schoolteacher Elizabeth Gies died under the care of Dr. William H. Wilson (pictured). Police investigated the death based on a complaint by Elizabeth's brother and the suspicious circumstances surrounding the burials of Elizabeth and her baby. The investigation concluded that she died from an illegal abortion Wilson had perpetrated. An officer told the press, "Her husband seemed to be very excited, due, in my opinion, to his belief that a criminal operation had indeed caused his wife's death. Had I known that when I was first called in on the case I certainly would not have had anything to do with it. There were intimations that the woman did not wish to become a mother because her marriage had been clandestine." Female teachers at the time were not permitted to be married. Heck was described as "a reputable physician." On June 26, Wilson died after drinking poisoned ale that had been sent to him at his home through an express office. The police arrested Elizabeth's husband, who they believed gave Wilson the poison as revenge.

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