Friday, April 07, 2017

Three Abortions, Over a Century Ago

Mystery Abortion in Chicago, 1915

Katherine McFarland, a 25-year-old homemaker in Chicago, died on April 7, 1915 from peritonitis caused by an abortion. I have been unable to find any other information about her death.

A Cry in the Night, 1896

On the evening of Monday, April 6, 1896, Tillie Karcher heard moaning in the flat of seamstress Millie Meyers, just upstairs of her at 415 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn. She listened again and heard a young female voice crying out, "Oh, let me go home to my mama!"

Alarmed, Mrs. Karchner sought out a policeman on his rounds, who went to the apartment and found a young woman there, ailing and alone. The girl gave her name as Mrs. Emily Scott and said that her husband, Ollie Scott, was a fireman on a Fulton ferry.

The policeman found prescription bottles in the room, so he copied the information from them and went to the pharmacy that had prepared them. The pharmacist said that the medicines were common ones used in treating fevers.

The policeman considered all these goings-on to be fishy, so he reported the situation to the precinct captain, who began an investigation to identify and round up everybody involved in the young woman's suspicious illness.

Around 5:30 on Tuesday afternoon, April 7, the young woman said that she was going to die soon, told the police that her real name was Emily Binney and gave them her address on Rutledge Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Emily's turn for the worse sent the police rushing for the coroner, leaving the ailing girl in the care of Minnie Meyer. The coroner arrived to find that Miss Meyer had abandoned Emily, leaving her to die alone in the intervening half hour.

Meyer was eventually apprehended and admitted that she'd helped 20-year-old Emily to seek out the abortion services of 33-year-old midwife Mary Schott and had herself been engaged to look after the patient.

A police officer went to the Fulton ferry house and managed to identify "Ollie Scott" as Arthur Robbins, who was arrested when he showed up at Meyer's flat to look for Emily at 10:00 that evening.

While the suspects were being questioned, Minnie said that Emily's baby had been born alive on March 21. Upon hearing that, Robbins burst into tears and told police that about four hours after the child's birth he had wrapped the baby in newspapers weighted down with a piece of iron and thrown it out a porthole in the ferry. He couldn't say if the baby had still been alive when it was tossed into the river.

Arthur Robbins then admitted that he had gone with Emily and Minnie to arrange for Mrs. Schott to perform an abortion.

Minnie Meyer was found guilty of manslaughter. I've been unable to determine the outcome of the case against the midwife.

Fatal in Minneapolis, 1889

Minnie Broderick, age 25, died in Minneapolis on April 7, 1889 from complications of a recent criminal abortion.

Dr. Irvine testified that Minnie had come to his practice about ten days prior to her death, saying that she had been unwell since miscarrying. He said that he examined her and found no signs of pregnancy. The three doctors who performed the postmortem examination indicated that she had clearly died from an abortion performed a few days earlier.

No comments: