Friday, November 20, 2015

Two Deaths, One Day: Chicago, 1925

On November 20, 1925, 29-year-old Anna Kick died in Chicago's Washington Park Hospital from an abortion performed that day at an undisclosed location. The coroner determined that a midwife was responsible for Anna's death, but did not determine the midwife's name.

On that very same day, 23-year-old Helen Bain, a homemaker, died in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. Dr. George Slater was arrested on November 21 for Helen's death. Slater was indicted by a grand jury for homicide on May 1, 1926.

Helen's abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician. The mantra among abortion-rights organizations that before legalization, the world of abortion was a world of rusty coathangers and untrained quacks is false. In fact, it's an insult to the abortion-minded women of yesteryear to assume that they were all so mentally unhinged or utterly mindless as to reflexively reach for the rustiest knitting needle in the basket. The vast majority sought out professionals of the same caliber they'd go to for any other obstetric or gynecological issue, as Anna went to a midwife.

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