Tuesday, July 02, 2013

More Than a Century Ago: Three Abortion Deaths

On July 2, 1900, Mrs. Sarah Bonda, age 20, died at her home as a result of a criminal abortion performed on her there that day. On July 6, police arrested Mrs. Martha Heisig, a midwife, in connection with the death. She was to be held without bail pending trial. During transport from the Englewood police station to the county jail, Heisig asked if she could be brought home to say goodbye to her family. The officer extended this kindness, only to have Heisig commit suicide by grabbing and drinking down a vial of carbolic acid in the presence of her loved ones.

On July 2, 1896, Hanna Carlson died at Chicago's Emergency Hospital at about 5 p.m. Her brother, A. O. Carlson, swore out a complaint against Lucy Hagenow (pictured) and Ida Von Schultz. Both women were charged with murder. A man named Emil Olson, identified as "the man who secured their services," was also arrested. Hagenow, who had already been implicated of the abortion deaths of Louise Derchow, Annie Dorris, Abbia Richards, and Emma Dep in San Francisco, would go on to be linked to over a dozen Chicago abortion deaths: Minnie Deering, Sophia Kuhn, Emily Anderson, Marie Hecht, May Putnam, Lola Madison, Annie Horvatich, Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, and Elizabeth Welter, and Mary Moorehead. Hagenow's success as an abortionist in spite of her appalling record is a testament to the degree to which the authorities in Chicago were willing to tolerate abortion and its most inept and dangerous practitioners.

All I have on the final death today is a news snippet: “Phoenix, July 21 -- Mrs. Alice White, the victim of the sensational abortion case, died this afternoon. Dr. Helm's bondsman immediately withdrew and he was again taken to jail. A warrant is out for the young man interested in the case.”

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