Monday, April 25, 2016

Deadly Abortions in Different Circumstances and Centuries

Chicago, 1899: Perpetrator's Profession Unknown

On April 25, 1899, Sarah Messinger, age 30, died in St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago from an abortion performed by Marie Kampfer. Sarah died on the day the abortion was performed. Kampfer, whose profession is not listed, was held for $5,000 bond by Coroner's Jury. Most Chicago abortionists of that era were physicians or midwives.

New York City, 1902: Most Likely a Physician

In January of 1902, Abraham Conheim promised marriage to 19-year-old Harriet "Hattie" Larocque, originally of Canton, New York.  According to Hattie's father, Leon, Hattie was the seventh of his nine children, and was "previously chaste and of good reputation." With the promise of marriage, Hattie became sexually involved with Conheim, who had hired her to work for him as a cloak model. 

In April of 1902, about 18 months after moving to New York City, Hattie discovered that she was pregnant. Conheim reneged on his promise of marriage. Instead he and his friend, traveling salesman Leo Asher. There they arranged a criminal abortion for her.

At some point, Hattie was attended by Dr. Mary J. McCleery in the McCleery home. Martha Collier, who was a boarder at the McCleery home, said that Harriet had arrived there on April 9. Dr. McCleery said that she had only given Hattie simple medications.

Hattie took ill after the abortion and was admitted to New York Hospital as "Hattie Bailey," a name she was using while in New York. She was visited at the hospital by the coroner, and again gave her name as Hattie Bailey. She told the coroner conflicting stories. First she said that she was secretly married to Abraham, but later she denied that she was married to anybody. Of Conheim and Asher, Hattie said that "both had wronged her" and that Asher had promised her marriage but had instead sent her to "Dr. McCleery." 

Hattie's mental state deteriorated and she began speaking to Asher as though he was present in the room. She died at the hospital of peritonitis on April 25. 
Hattie's father sued Conheim for seducing and debauching his daughter, impregnating her, and causing her death. There were never any arrests to hold anybody else accountable, largely because Hattie's statements at the hospital were never formally taken down as an ante-mortem statement.

Chicago, 1908: A Midwife's Fatal Work

On Thursday, April 23, 1908, 32-year-old homemaker Annie Johnson was taken by private ambulance to Wesley Hospital in Chicago, suffering form complications of a criminal abortion. She died on Saturday night, April 25. Albert Stevens, age 39, was arrested as an accomplice to the fatal abortion. Mrs. Laura R. Flinn, one of Annie's friends, was held as a witness. Laura, who said that the abortion had been performed over her protests, identified midwife Augusta Heiderich as the abortionist. Heiderich was arrested and held by the grand jury.

Oklahoma City, 1932: A String of Deaths by an Osteopathic Physician

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Dr. Richard Thacker
Dr. Richard E. Thacker, an osteopath, maintained an office and operating rooms in the Terminal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He fled the state but was eventually captured and put on trial for the April 25, 1932 death of 17-year-old co-ed Nancy Joe Seay Lee, who had recently entered into a secret marriage with University of Oklahoma football player Frank Lee.

Thacker met Frank some time about noon Saturday, April 23, 1932. Frank brought his wife to the office about 2 o'clock that afternoon. Thacker had asked for $75, but Frank had bargained down to $30. Thacker did not examine Nancy prior to the abortion, and did not ask Frank to leave the room while it was perpetrated.

After the abortion, Frank went back to classes. He was notified that Nancy had taken ill and been taken to Oklahoma City General Hospital. Frank rushed to her side, but she was already dead. She had implicated Thacker before her death.

Nancy was one of a string of abortion deaths attributed to just Thacker and one additional Oklahoma City osteopath, John Eisiminger in the spring of 1932. The others were Geraldine Easley, Ethel Hestland, Isobabell Ferguson, Ruth Hall, Robbie Lou Thompson, Virginia Lee Wyckoff and Lennis May Roach.

Missouri, 1997: A Doctor's Third Patient Death

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Robert Crist
Twenty-two-year-old Nichole Williams was the third patient known to have died of safe and legal abortioncomplications under the dubious care of Dr. Robert Crist. The others were Latachie Veal and Diane Boyd. Nichole, a mother of three (ages 7, 3, and 1), lived with her boyfriend and after an abortion at Reproductive Health Services, run by Planned parenthood, in St. Louis, MO. Some of the cost of Nichole's $550 abortion came from a national foundation which Planned Parenthood refused to name.

Crist started the first-trimester abortion at 2:00 on Friday, April 25, 1997, administering lidocaine and vasopressin for a procedure expected to last about five minutes. "Seconds" before finishing the abortion, he noticed that Nichole had breathing problems, finished the abortion, and instructed staff to call 911. RHS staff began resuscitation, but Nichole was in full cardiac arrest when medics arrived fifteen minutes later. Efforts to revive her continued in the ambulance and at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, to no avail, and she was pronounced dead at 3:12 p.m. Nichole's death was officially attributed to disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC), a clotting disorder that can be triggered by trauma, illness, or foreign material in the blood stream. 

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Reproductive Health Services, a National Abortion Federation member facility, is operated by Planned Parenthood of St. Louis. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is an organization of abortion facilities and practitioners, and promises that its members adhere to the highest standards of care. This claim seems remarkable when one considers that Dr. Abu "The Butcher of Avenue A" Hayat was an active NAF member when he performed the abortions that killed Sophie McCoy and maimed Ana Rodriguez. Other dubious NAF members include Family Planning Associates Medical Group, a clinic chain with at least sixteen dead abortion patients to its discredit, and Abraham Alberto Hodari, whose Detroit clinic is responsible for at least three abortion deaths including an illegal third-trimester abortion on an underage girl at the behest of her abuser's sister. 

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