Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Mystery Abortion, 1905; Safe and Legal, 1980

On May 7, 1905, Mrs. Hannah Calhoun died in Peoria, Illinois, from fever and blood poisoning attributed to an abortion. At first, Dr. J. W. Parker and his assistant, Dr. John Peattie, were held in the death. Then the Grand Jury held from Sophia Spellman, Hannah's mother. Her testimony, to the effect that Parker had only been called in to attend to Hannah after she had taken ill, was enough to lead the Grand Jury to exonerate the men, though they were reputed abortionists. Parker had been charged in another abortion, evidently not fatal, several years earlier. Hannah's mother would not concede that Hannah had aborted the pregnancy, but said that if there had been an abortion performed, Hannah must have done it herself.

Life Dynamics lists 34-year-old Marie Gibson on their "Blackmun Wall" of women killed by legal abortions. She died on May 7, 1980. LDI put together the following information on Marie's death:  She had been admitted to Anderson Memorial Hospital in Anderson, SC, because of an intestinal obstruction some time in 1980. She was pregnant at the time, so an abortion was performed in an effort to improve her condition for some rationale I don't understand. She developed adult respiratory distress syndrome and shock and died. Her doctor attributed the death to an amniotic fluid embolism. No autopsy was performed.

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