Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Midwife's fatal work in 1910

On November 13, 1910, 32-year-old Norwegian immigrant Pauline Braasch died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed there, possibly that same day. A nurse or midwife named Elizabeth Burns was indicted for felony murder in Pauline's death. The source has no record of the case going to trial.

Note, please, that with issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, seeThe Bad Old Days of Abortion

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