Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Mysterious Death in 1912

In the morning of April 10, 1912, 38-year-old Mrs. Grace Peters died at Columbus Hospital in Chicago. She had been taken to the hospital after having taken very ill in her home on April 4.

When asked who had perpetrated the abortion, Grace refused to say. There was some conjecture that she had perpetrated the abortion herself. Given the proliferation of physicians and midwives running abortion clinics in Chicago in that era, Grace could have found one without too much difficulty. Up through the 1950s and 1960s, the vast majority of abortions -- 90% or more -- performed by physicians

Most of the abortions done by non-physicians were performed by nurses, midwives, or others with some medical training.  Even lay abortionists with no formal medical training often had physicians providing training, equipment, medications, and emergency follow-up care. The abortions perpetrated by total amateurs, or by the woman herself, were a tiny minority, though, of course, those abortions were the ones most likely to lead to the woman's death.

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