Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Three Historic Criminal Abortions

On August 26, 1871, a shabbily-dressed young woman waited on the platform of the Hudson River Railroad Depot in New York City. A trunk was delivered to her by a hired cartman. The young woman checked the trunk for Chicago -- her own destination -- then vanished in the crowd. As the flimsy trunk was hauled to the platform, the lid was jarred, and an overpowering stench filled the balmy summer air. The station master opened the trunk to find bloodstained quilts and rags -- and the nude body of a young woman. She was eventually identified by her dentist as 25-year-old Alice Bowlsby of Patterson, New Jersey. On August 31, the day Alice's name was first published in the newspaper, the baby's father, a wealthy young man named Walter Conklin, committed suicide by shooting himself. An investigation eventually led police to her abortionist, Dr. Jacob Rosenzweig, who in a sensational trial was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years of hard labor at Sing-Sing.

On August 26, 1917, 28-year-old Mrs. Valdislaw Zapanc (I have been unable to determine her first name) died at Chicago's Englewood Hospital from a criminal abortion performed by some unknown perpetrator.

On August 26, 1922, Catherine Wainwright, whose husband was working in South America as a civil engineer at the time, died at Nassau Hospital, Long Island, New York. She was taken there after having been treated at her home since August 21 for what was diagnosed as "a gastro-intestinal infection." "There was plain evidence that the woman had undergone an illegal operation shortly before her death from mercury poisoning," news reports said. The autopsy revealed that she had been about three months into her pregnancy.

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