Friday, March 01, 2019

Unknown Perps, a Doctor, and a Dentist

An Unknown Chicago Perp, 1914

Della Augustine, a 24-year-old homemaker from Poland, made a connection with one of Chicago's many abortionists in early 1914. Most Chicago abortionists of the time were physicians or midwives, but the authorities were unable to determine who had perpetrated Della's. She died on March 1.

A Doctor and a Dentist in Georgia, 1919

Viola Parr, age 24, of Athens, Georgia, worked at the dental office of Dr. M. T. Summerlin. On or about February 22, 1919, an abortion was perpetrated on her in Summerlin's office. Viola's mother said that Viola had “declared that her delicate condition was caused by illegal relations with Dr. Summerlin, followed by the malpractice of Dr. W. G. Waters, an osteopath.” Both men, “prominent and influential professional men of Athens” were charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with intent to murder in Viola's death.

Summerlin and Waters fled the city when they learned that Viola had accused them in her deathbed statement, though they later turned themselves in, protesting their innocence. Summerlin reportedly got her pregnant, Walters did the abortion at his behest. Viola's family hired additional attorneys to assist the prosecution. Evidence did indicate that Summerlin was responsible for Viola's pregnancy and that both had participated in the abortion, performed with instruments of some sort. Both men were convicted and sentenced to three year prison terms.

An Unknown Perp in Chicago, 1919

On March 1, 1919, 22-year-old Jeanette Ruff died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

A Chicago Doctor's Case Stricken Off in 1920

Dr. Klinck
In early 1920, Christina Hetland, 39 years old and divorced, was admitted to Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital, suffering in infection caused by an abortion perpetrated somewhere in the city. Most of Chicago's abortionists were either physicians or midwives. Dr. John M. Klinck was identified by authorities as the perpetrator of Christina's abortion. Christina, who had come to the US from Norway and who after her divorce had found work as a maid in a Chicago home, died on March 1. Dr. Klinck and a man named Carl Blomgren were held by the coroner but, for reasons I have not been able to determine, both cases were stricken off.

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