Monday, April 18, 2016

Two Septic Abortions and a Suicide

Chicago, 1908: Another Physician-Abortionist

On April 18, 1908, 36-year-old homemaker Sophia Turner died at Chicago's Englewood Hospital from septic peritonitis caused by an abortion. Prior to her death, she told her husband that the abortionist had been Dr. Jessie E. Robertson. Most Chicago abortionists of that era were either doctors or midwives. Sophia's death certificate indicates that the abortion took place on April 10. Robertson was arrested, but she was later acquitted for reasons not given in the source document.

Note, please, that with overall public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

New York 1971: A Tragic, Mistaken Suicide

"Sandra" was 18 years old when she underwent a first-trimester abortion procedure in New York, under the state's liberal abortion lawThree days later, on April 18, 1971, Sandra killed herself. Before her death, she had expressed guilt about having "killed her baby." Tragically, nobody had contacted Sandra to give her the results of the pathology report on what had been removed from her uterus. There had been no embryo. Sandra had not actually been pregnant.

Abortion is associated with an increase in all forms of violent death: accident, homicide, and suicideOther post-abortion suicides include:
  • Carol Cunningham, age 21, who shut herself in her garage, ran her car, and died from the exhaust fumes on August 22, 1986
  • Arlin della Cruz, age 19, who hanged herself in the woods near her house on October 15, 1992
  • Laura Grunas, age 30, who shot her baby's father and then herself on August 4, 2006
  • Haley Mason, age 22, who overdosed on pills and alcohol on April 5, 2001
  • Sandra Kaiser, age 15, who threw herself off an overpass into traffic on November 19, 1984
  • Stacy Zallie, age 20, who committed suicide on October 1, 2002

Florida, 1981: Septic Abortion

In the early morning of April 18, 1981, 30-year-old Barbara Lerner was found dead from blood poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control investigated Barbara's death and designated it as due to a legal abortion.

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