Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Criminal Abortion Deaths: The Work of Doctors and a Midwife

At about 3:00 in the morning of April 1, 1904, 26-year-old Edith S. McIntyre, a schoolteacher from Boothbay Harbor died at a sanitarium run by Dr. Charles A Eastman in Old Orchard, Maine. The suspicious circumstances surrounding Edith's deaths lead to an inquest which determined that she had died from the results of a botched abortion. Eastman was arraigned on a murder charge, to which he plead not guilty. The prosecution presented evidence that Eastman had performed an abortion on Edith some time in March, and that she developed septicemia and died as a result. On July 12, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter.

On April 1, 1911, 23-year-old Chicago homemaker Annie Murphy died from an abortion perpetrated by a midwife (or possibly obstetrician) named Carolina Adams. Adams was held by the Coroner's Jury but the case never went to trial.

On March 29, 1921, Dr. Simeon B. Minden performed an abortion in his office on 32-year-old Mrs. Catherine Riga. Catherine died three days later, April 1, at Lincoln Hospital. It took only two days for his trial, which ended in a conviction. Minden collapsed upon hearing the verdict.

Abortionist Guy Brewer
Ruby Ford is the third of six women whose abortion deaths were attributed to Dr. Guy E. Brewer, a beloved philanthropist in the small town of Graber, Oklahoma. Ruby, a homemaker, died on April 1, 1934, 11 days after an abortion committed on March 20 "at the combination bachelor dwelling and office of Dr. Brewer in Garber.

During the first two thirds of the 20th Century, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality, including mortality from abortion. Most researches attribute this plunge to improvements in public health and hygiene, the development of blood transfusion techniques, and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

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