Saturday, January 03, 2015

Two Deaths Over a Century Apart

Of today's two deaths from the Cemetery of Choice, I have far more information on the criminal abortion death.

The legal abortion death was Loretta Morton. She was 16 years old when she underwent a legal abortion in December of 1983. She was sent home with birth control pills.  On January 3, 1984, Loretta was at home, and having trouble breathing. Her mother called for an ambulance.  The ambulance crew assessed Loretta, decided she was stable, and left. They were called back ten minutes later because Loretta had lost consciousness.  The crew rushed Loretta to a hospital, but attempts to resuscitate her were in vain. Within an hour of having lost consciousness, she was dead.  An autopsy showed that she had died from a pulmonary embolism from the abortion.

The illegal abortion predates Loretta's death by nearly 120 years.

An inquest was held in St. Louis, Missouri, regarding the January 3, 1866 death of 23-year-old Aurora Heaton. She was a native of Illinois and had worked as a seamstress in a rural town. She moved to St. Louis in late October or early November of 1865 and found a job, which she left after only a few weeks when she went to Mr. Gallagher's.

Aurora had been keeping company with a college student named Isaac McDonald. She suspected that she was pregnant and during Isaac's college break they went to a pharmacy to procure abortifacients.  On December 10, Aurora wrote to Isaac to tell him that the abortifacients had not had the desired effect. She wrote to him:

"I think you had better go to the doctor and see how much he will ask you. he must do something soon, for I would rather die than have that about me, and me not married.

After writing to Isaac, Aurora went to another drug store, where she bought two ounces of oil of cedar, "medicine used as a diuretic and emenagogue for female sickness and for other purposes; sometimes used by women to procure abortion." Aurora took a one-ounce dose on Tuesday night. Some time between 10:00 and 11:00 she went into convulsions, then fell into a coma. She was dead just after midnight.

The post-mortem examination found some oil of cedar still in her stomach. Not only were there no signs of sickness in any of Aurora's organs -- there were also no signs of pregnancy.

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