Thursday, December 11, 2014

1927: Criminal Abortionist Barely Escaped the Electric Chair

Dr. Amante Rongetti
The first man sentenced to die in Illinois's electric chair was not a typical death row inmate: he was a physician whose patient died from complications of an illegal abortion. Reporters covering the case in Chicago contended that Dr. Amante Rongetti (pictured) was the first doctor in the United States ever sentenced to die over a patient's abortion death.

Rongetti had been convicted of murder in the December 11, 1927 abortion death of 19-year-old Loretta Enders and manslaughter in the death of her baby.

Many factors disclosed in court helped to seal the jury's verdict:
  • Witnesses said that the baby had been born alive; Rongetti left it unattended to die, then threw the body in the furnace.
  • After Loretta had developed sepsis (blood poisoning) from the abortion, Rongetti refused to provide follow-up care, including possibly life-saving additional surgery, because she had no money to pay him.

  • Not only did Rongetti refuse to provide the care himself, but he prevented Loretta from going elsewhere.

  • Rongetti refused to summon a priest to perform last rites for Loretta, again fearing exposure of his illegal practices.
Rongetti's death sentence was handed down on March 1, 1928, after three hours of deliberation. Rongetti's scheduled execution date was to be April 13, 1928.

Rongetti's attorney, Scott Stewart, immediately filed motion for a new trial. The legal wrangling took a while. Rongetti spent a year on death row before being released -- whereupon he was promptly implicated in the criminal abortion death of Elizabeth Palumbo, who died May 23, 1929 after an abortion performed May 10.

Rongetti was tried again for Loretta's death in December of 1929. He was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 14 years in Joliet.

Everything Rongetti did has its continuation in legal abortion practice. Rongetti was a legitimate physician
who performed abortions in his hospital, assisted by licensed nurses. Babies are born alive in abortions every year in the US, and are typically sent to the incinerator with the medical waste. (Even Planned Parenthood has admitted to live births.) Abortion doctors such as National Abortion Federation member Abu Hayat have been caught refusing to provide necessary additional care if women didn't have more money to pay for it. Abortion doctors have kept patients in their facilities, keeping them from getting care elsewhere. They have kept dangerously injured patients away from their desired companions for fear of getting caught committing quackery.

The biggest difference is that unlike the modern safe and legal abortion doctor, Rongetti faced the electric chair when he screwed up. Legalization certainly has been a boon to quack abortionists. But it has made zero difference in how, or how often, often women die at their hands.

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