Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Eve: Hemorrhaging Teen Shoved Out the Door to Die

Chicago, 1986

Headshot of a bald, middle-aged Black man in a white shirt and dark necktie
Arnold Bickham
Eighteen-year-old Sylvia Jane Moore underwent a safe and legal abortion at the hands of 50-year-old Arnold Bickham on December 31, 1986 at his Urgent Medical Care Clinic in Chicago. She was in the second trimester of her pregnancy, but Bickham used a suction technique suitable for a first-trimester pregnancy. After the abortion, 48-year-old Bickham gave Sylvia repeated injections of Demerol because she was reporting severe abdominal cramps.

According to her mother, Sylvia was bleeding, weak, incoherent, and unable to walk after five hours at the clinic. Bickham tried several times to lift Sylvia to her feet, but she repeatedly collapsed. Bickham called her "lazy," put her in a wheelchair, and physically ejected her from his Chicago clinic. Sylvia's mother took her to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, where staff tried in vain to save the young woman, who had arrived with no pulse and no blood pressure. An emergency hysterectomy was done to remove her lacerated uterus, which still had a plastic instrument embedded in a 6.5 cm laceration. Sylvia also had a 2.2 cm laceration of her vagina. Despite the surgery, she bled to death.

Bickham claimed that he "didn't think there was anything wrong" with Sylvia, and said that he'd merely been helping her with the wheelchair. He blamed Sylvia's death on the hospital, saying, "They were successful in repairing the damage done in the abortion, but in doing that, they perforated an artery causing there to be blood loss in the chest cavity. That was something she was not able to survive."

The autopsy report, however, noted the chest tube incision but noted "lungs are well expanded and the pleural cavities are free of fluid and adhesions." An attorney with the Department of Professional Regulation said, "This patient should never have been allowed to leave Bickham's clinic with her mother."

The postmortum report said: "The circumstances of injury, review of the Medical records, the findings at autopsy examination, and subsequent investigation of the circumstances of the case provide evidence of gross negligence and abandonment on the part of the original treating physician. In consideration of the above, the manner of death is determined to be Homicide." However, no charges were pressed against Bickham. His attorney claimed that the actions against Bickham were a racist witch hunt, saying, "He's a black man who did an abortion and he's an ex-felon. That's strike one, two, and three."

The suit filed by Sylvia's survivors noted that Bickham had failed to perform an ultrasound, and failed to have adequate staff or equipment. The specimen of abortion tissue sent from clinic contained segments of placental tissue, umbilical cord, and fetal intestinal parts and liver.

Sylvia left one child motherless.

Bickham's license was revoked by Illinois in October of 1988 due to Sylvia's death. The medical board had concluded that Bickham had performed the abortion "without adequate support staff and emergency equipment, and failed to recognize symptoms of abdominal bleeding...." He was arrested in September of 1989 for practicing medicine without license, and sentenced to 30 months probation and 2,600 hours of community service in lieu of 6 months jail, in addition to a $10,000 fine. 

Bickham had been a prolific abortionist, and in 1974 had been the highest-paid doctor in the country's Medicaid program, with total reimbursements of $192,266 (over $4 million in 2020 dollars). His medical license had been put on probation in 1979 after he had been caught performing abortions on women who had not actually been pregnant. That same year he was sentenced to two years in federal prison for defrauding the government out of job training funds.

Fortunately, Bickham eventually hung up his canula. On the downside, he became a pubic school administrator, still in a position where his poor judgment might cause harm but at least not death to any more children or young women. 

Newly added sources:

 Chicago, 1917

On December 31, 1917, 40-year-old homemaker Victoria Chmileuski died in her Chicago home from an abortion perpetrated by Wilhemena Benn, whose profession is given only as "abortion provider," though she was actually a licensed midwife. Benn was acquitted on March 7, 1918. Benn had been previously charged but later acquitted in the June, 1916 abortion death of Rosie Kawera, and implicated the March 2, 1906 abortion death of Otilia Winker. I don't know the outcome of the Winker case.

Watch Shoved Out the Door to Die on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

December 30: Retroactively Safe

Retroactively Safe and Legal

"Sophia," age 19, traveled from Youngstown, Ohio, to Duquesne, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 27, 1969 to have an abortion performed by a Dr. Benjamin King. Sophia was a 19-year-old freshman at Ohio State University. She had gotten King's contact information from her boyfriend, who was also 19 years old. King put out word about his services on college campuses in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Sophia's boyfriend accompanied her to King's office. They made a down payment toward the $300 fee for the abortion. (That's over $2,000 in 2020 dollars.) The young couple returned to Youngstown, where Sophia was admitted to South Side Hospital on December 29. She died the following day. King had perforated her cervix, causing both infection and hemorrhage.

Police had Sophia's boyfriend contact King, saying he had the rest of the money. When King came to collect, he was arrested. Though convicted and sentenced to prison, King won his freedom by citing the Roe vs. Wade decision striking down the abortion law.

A Possible Lay Abortionist in Chicago

On December 30, 1924, 21-year-old Agnes Nazar, an immigrant from Persia (modern-day Iran), died at Chicago's St. Joseph's Hospital from an abortion performed earlier that day. On January 6, 1925, Rogie Hatal was held by the coroner as the guilty abortionist. Hatal's profession is not listed. 

Mike Nazar, her husband, was arrested as an accessory, as was Sarah Babian. Hatal was indicted for felony murder on February 15, 1925. 

Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see Abortion in the 1920s.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

December 29: Four Cases of "All Surgery Has Risks" and One of "Never Again"

Another Planned Parenthood Death

Hoa Thuy "Vivian" Tran, like Holly Patterson, got abortion drugs at a Planned Parenthood. Vivian was 22 years old, and died December 29, 2003, six days into the abortion process. She‘d been given the drugs on December 23 at the Costa Mesa Planned Parenthood facility. The autopsy showed that she died of sepsis. Vivian‘s husband is suing the drug company, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernadino Counties, and The Population Council Inc., in Orange County Superior Court. Planned Parenthood spokesperson Kimberlee Ward said that PP has "absolute confidence in this method of abortion," which is hardly surprising. After all, Vivian‘s fetus died, leaving PP with nothing to complain about. Other women identified as having died of infection deaths after RU-486 deaths in the Los Angeles area: Chanelle Bryant, and Oriane Shevin. Chanelle got her abortion drugs at a Planned Parenthood, and Oriane and Vivian got theirs from National Abortion Federation members.

Safe and Legal in Houston

On December 29, 1987, 31-year-old Sheila Watley had a safe, legal abortion at Concerned Women's Center in Houston, Texas. She was 17 weeks pregnant, and had one child. The abortion was performed by Dr. Richard Cunningham. About four minutes into the procedure, Sheila went into cardio-respiratory arrest. She was pronounced dead later that day. The cause of death was listed as an amniotic fluid embolism, which is when fluid from the uterus gets into the woman's blood stream. From a search on information about Cunningham's license, a lawsuit was filed against him that might have pertained to Sheila's death; the case in question was dismissed, according to information Cunningham gave the Texas medical board. 

Safe and Legal in Cleveland

Mary Ann Page was 36 years old when she went into cardiac arrest during an abortion/tubal ligation performed under general anesthesia on December 28, 1977. Both procedures were completed, then Mary Ann was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland. Mary Ann suffered several more cardiac arrests while she was in the ICU. She was pronounced dead on December 29, 1977.

Legal, Antiquated, and Deadly

"Beth" was 23 years old when she traveled from Massachusetts to take advantage of New York's liberalized abortion law in 1971. Beth's doctor chose saline abortion, which is performed by injecting a strong salt solution into the amniotic fluid. The fetus inhales and swallows the fluid, which causes massive internal bleeding and death. The woman then goes into labor. The abortion was initiated by injecting saline into Beth's uterus. But instead of the amniotic sac, the saline went into Beth's bloodstream. Beth immediately began to have seizures and went into a coma. She was pronounced dead on December 29, 1971.

The Bad Kind of Abortion Death

On December 29, 1907, 19-year-old Marcie Mayer died in St. Elizabeth's hospital in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion. Mary Bing, a midwife, was arrested, tried, and sentenced to Joliet. A man named John Mansfield was also held by the coroner's jury, but acquitted by the judge. Marcie's abortion was atypical in that it was not performed by a physician.

Watch Equally Dead on YouTube.

Monday, December 28, 2020

December 28: Another Mystery in Chicago

On December 28, 1921, 30-year-old housekeeper Belle Keehn died at the Chicago Lying-In Hospital from lung abscesses and septicemia caused by an abortion perpetrated by an unknown doctor on or about November 27.

Documents are unclear as to how it was determined that the perpetrator was a doctor. The hospital was a reputable facility, not a seedy abortion mill, so Belle would have received superior care as doctors tried to save her life.

Watch Who Killed Belle? on YouTube.


Sunday, December 27, 2020

December 27: Safe and Legal -- But Actually Illegal

Arnetta Hardaway was 18 years old when she had an abortion performed by Dr. George Tucker in Atlanta on December 23, 1985. Like other Black women, she was at higher risk for death than a white woman from abortion complications.

Arnetta continued to bleed, and developed infection, after her abortion. On December 27, she died from infection and hemorrhage, according to the medical examiner. 

Tucker was investigated by the medical board for failure to meet minimal standards of care, and was indicted for performing an illegal third-trimester abortion. At the time of Arnetta's abortion, Georgia law required that second-trimester abortions be performed in hospitals. Third trimester abortions were only allowed for purported danger to the mother's life, though third-trimester life-of-the-mother abortion is nonsensical on its face, since nobody would reasonably think that the mother would benefit medically from additional steps taken to ensure a dead baby prior to ending the pregnancy safely for the woman. District Attorney Lewis Slaton characterized Arnetta's abortion as "way late."

Tucker had an active medical board order on his license as of January 4, 2002. The Georgia medical board web site does not reveal the details of the order.

Fortunately, though I had lost the original page, I found more information about Arnetta's death on a newspaper search and have included the clippings and information in this post.

Watch Not So Legal After All on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

December 23, 1934: The Body in the Woods

Loretta Wilson

Gruesome Discovery

On Christmas day of 1934, the nude body of a young woman was found partially covered by a pile of leaves in a thicket near a highway south of New York City. Somehow it had been spotted by two truck drivers.

The young woman was estimated to have been dead between 12 and 24 hours. Eventually the date of death was determined to have been December 23.


Laura and Joseph Devine, whose 19-year-old daughter, Loretta Wilson, had been missing since December 19, contacted authorities and were able to positively identify the body. An autopsy revealed that she had bled to death from complications of an abortion.

The Husband Confesses
Loretta had left home at noon on the 19th, telling the landlady that she was going to see a doctor. Her husband of two years, William, knew better. Though initially he'd denied even knowing that Loretta had been pregnant, he later said he'd paid Dr. John H. Becker Jr., age 52, $55 for the abortion. (That's a little over $1,000 in 2020 dollars.) He added that his wife's friend, Kay Dinger, had been present when the transaction took place.

William, whose profession is alternatively given as a chauffeur and a truck driver, had come home from work on December 19 to find Loretta not home. He assumed that she had gone to Becker for the abortion since he'd made the appointment for the 19th. He went to Becker's office and learned that she wasn't there, and the next day he reported her missing.

Becker's Denial Fails

Becker admitted to having been paid $2 for examining Loretta on December 17, but denied perpetrating the abortion. He said that she was supposed to return on the 18th but failed to show up. However, his assertion that he'd not seen Loretta after the 17th was challenged by a witness who picked Becker out of a lineup of seven men as the one he'd seen standing by a car near the area where Loretta's body was found.

Becker was found guilty and sentenced to between 18 months and three years in Sing-Sing.

One more note: Loretta's abortion was typical of pre-Roe abortions in that it was performed by a physician

Watch The Body in the Woods on YouTube.

December 23: The Doctor's Daughter's Deadly Lover

 Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1885: Sylvia Sawdy 

In 1885, Harry McDowell began calling at the home of Dr. Truman Sawdy of Howard City, about 40 miles north of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to visit Dr. Sawdy's 21-year-old daughter, Sylvia. McDowell usually came on Sundays and in the evening, and also corresponded with Sylvia.

On December 10, Sylvia went to Grand Rapids by train, ostensibly to visit McDowell's mother. Dr. Sawdy heard nothing more from or about his daughter until the morning of Christmas Eve, when McDowell's father came to him, saying that he'd gotten a telegram or telephone call from his son. The senior McDowell said that Harry had told him that Sylvia was very sick and wanted her mother, Cornelia, to go to her.

Dr. Sawdy read the next day in the newspaper that his daughter was dead.

It came out in the trial that in November, Sylvia had consulted with Drs. Bodle, Hake, and Bradish, indicating that she was pregnant. Evidence indicated that McDowell had performed an abortion on Sylvia on December 23, and that she died that day. McDowell was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years.

Watch The Deadly Lover on YouTube.

December 23, 1970: Safe, Legal, and Deadly

 "Kimberly" was 25 years old and 18 weeks pregnant when she underwent a safe, legal abortion under the new law, in New York City on December 23, 1970. During the abortion, she went into cardiac arrest and died, leaving behind two children.

The 1970 liberalization of abortion had made New York an abortion mecca until the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling that abortionists could legally set up shop in any state of the union. In addition to "Kimberly," these are the women I know of who had the dubious benefit of dying from the newfangled safe-and-legal kind of abortion in pre-Roe New York: Pearl SchwierCarmen RodriguezBarbara Riley"Amanda" Roe, and Maria Ortega in 1970; "Amy" Roe"Andrea" Roe"Sandra" Roe"Anita" RoeMargaret Smith"Annie" Roe"Audrey" Roe"Vicki" Roe"April" Roe"Barbara" Roe"Tammy" RoeCarole Schaner"Beth" Roe, and "Roseann" Roe in 1971, and Connie" Roe"Julie" Roe"Robin" Roe"Roxanne" Roe, and "Danielle" Roe in the first half of 1972.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Stumbling Across Another Death

While seeking new information on the 1924 abortion death of Helen Koss, I stumbled across a news snippet. Midwife Emma Morck, who was charged but never tried for Helen's death, was implicated in the death of Christine Gorss. Morck was tried and acquitted in Christine's death.

I've been unable to learn any more about Christine's death.

See Stumbling Across Christine on YouTube.

Monday, December 21, 2020

December 21, 1970: Stopover for Death

Denise Holmes, a 24-year-old Australian woman living in Texas, decided to undergo a safe and legal abortion at Avalon Hospital in Los Angeles, California, on her way home for Christmas of 1970. 

She checked into Avalon Hospital (an abortion facility owned by Edward Campbell Allred) on December 21. 

During the abortion, Denise suffered an amniotic fluid embolism that carried pieces of fetal bone marrow into her lungs. She was pronounced dead by Allred at Avalon at 5pm. 

Denise is the first confirmed abortion death at an Allred facility. Other women known to have died after abortions at Allred's Family Planning Associates Medical Group chain of facilities include Patricia Chacon, Mary Pena, Josefina Garcia, Lanice Dorsey, Joyce Ortenzio, Tami Suematsu, Deanna Bell, Susan Levy, Christina Mora, Ta Tanisha Wesson, Nakia Jorden, Maria Leho, Kimberly Neil, Maria Rodriguez, and Chanelle Bryant.

Watch Stopover for Death on YouTube.

December 21, 1997: A Typical Lack of Diligence

Dr. Earl McLeod
On December 20, 1997, 27-year-old Jennifer Halner went to Potomac Family Planning for a safe, legal abortion, to be performed by D&C. She was 6 weeks pregnant. Dr. Earl McLeod's anesthesiologist, Dr. Jo-Anne Kelly, started an IV, and Jennifer was hooked up to monitors. 

The procedure took about five minutes.

Jennifer  was transferred to recovery at 10:10 a.m. She was put on an oxygen mask but given only a blood pressure monitor. Her blood pressure was 112/60, her pulse 103. The blood pressure monitor was then removed and placed on another patient. Kelly went back to the procedure room without awakening Jennifer.

Ten or fifteen minutes later a nurse noticed that Jennifer was still unresponsive. She started to ask an assistant to go to the procedure room and ask Kelly to approve a dose of Zoloft (and antidepressant), then changed her mind and asked another nurse to get approval for a dose of Zofran (an antiemetic). 

Neither McLeod nor Kelly assessed Jennifer, but instead Kelly verbally complied with the odd request even though Jennifer was not suffering from nausea or vomiting. The nurse gave a dose of Zofran intravenously at about 10:25, and, of course, Jennifer remained unresponsive.

The nurse then requested Romazicon, a drug that would actually reverse the effects of anesthetics, and again, without assessing the patient, Kelly, gave her okay. The nurse administered the medication but again got no response. She put the blood pressure cuff back on Jennifer and only then noticed that the young woman had no pulse. She checked Jennifer's pupils and found them dilated. She fetched Kelly, who stared a second IV and began to perform CPR, using a pediatric-sized bag-valve mask totally inadequate for an adult patient. It was, however, the only bag-valve mask the clinic had on the crash cart. Meanwhile, McLeod performed two other procedures before entering the recovery room and finding his staff performing inadequate CPR on his patient. 

McLeod ordered Epinephrine, Ephedrine, and Lidocaine be administered. He didn't document oxygen saturation because nobody had put a pulse oximeter on Jennifer. He later claimed that Jennifer had been hooked up to a cardiac monitor, but he didn't document cardiac rhythm, respiration, or a neurological evaluation.

It wasn't until around 10:42 a.m. that McLeod told somebody to call 911. Paramedics arrived and  immediately began appropriate resuscitation, including intubating Jennifer -- a step that McLeod or Kelly should have taken. They switched to an adult bag-valve mask, administered Narcan, epinephrine, and atropine, and hooked Jennifer up to a cardiac monitor and defibrillator. They defibrillated Jennifer. 

The medics transported Jennifer to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Upon arrival her pupils were fixed and dilated. After aggressive resuscitation efforts by ER staff, Jennifer's heart was restored to a stable rhythm, and she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. She died there at 4:15 a.m. on December 21.
The appalled paramedics reported McLeod to the medical board, which faulted him with failure to provide adequate and readily-available post-operative monitoring equipment, and failure to provide adequate emergency supplies. The board also required him to get his staff properly certified in CPR. Dr. Kelly was disciplined by the medical board as well.

McLeod also ran the Hillcrest abortion mill in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Kelly Morse had died in 1996 after being inadequately resuscitated.

Watch Out of Sight, Out of Mind on YouTube.

December 21: Early 20th Century Chicago Abortions

 On December 21, 1915, 34-year-old Anna Hunt died at Chicago's Rhodes Avenue Hospital from complications of an abortion perpetrated that day by an unknown person.

On December 11, 1926, fifteen-year-old stenographer Emily Mueller underwent a criminal abortion somewhere in Chicago. She died on December 21. Midwife Magdelane Stegeman was indicted for felony murder by the Grand Jury on February 15, 1927. She was later implicated in the 1941 abortion death of Rose Smith. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

December 19, 1921: Scanty Information in Chicago

On December 19, 1921, 18-year-old housekeeper Marie Pickle died in Chicago after an abortion perpetrated by Clarence Shoere, who was identified as a nurse or midwife. Shoere was held by the coroner but not tried.

Marie, a native of Howe, Oklahoma, was a single Black woman whose occupation was listed as "Housework, general."

Friday, December 18, 2020

December 18, 1923: Another Mysterious Chicago Death

On December 18, 1923, 40-year-old Sophia Hartozinski died at Chicago's County Hospital due to a criminal abortion performed there that day. 

Sophia, a native of Russia, had lived in Chicago with her husband, Vincent, and their three children. 

The coroner identified midwife Mary Roback as having been responsible for Sophia's death. 

December 18, 1982: Not So Legal After All

Myrtha Baptiste, age 26, had a supposedly legal -- and therefore supposedly safe -- abortion of her 10 week pregnancy performed by Orlando Zaldivar at Woman's Care Clinic December 18, 1982.  

Myrtha, a mother of two, arrived at the hospital in critical condition due to delay of transfer by the clinic staff. She bled to death from two uterine perforations. Zaldivar could not be reached for seven hours while hospital staff were struggling to save his patient's life.

Myrtha had evidently led a very sad life. The Tampa Tribune described her as "semi-literate" and noted that she had undergone four previous abortions. Zaldivar didn't seem too moved over his patient's sad end. His comment to the police was, "This ruins my whole week."

Because Zaldivar's license was inactive at the time he performed Myrtha's abortion, the CDC classified her death as being due to illegal abortion rather than legal abortion. This hides her death from statistics on legal abortion deaths even though Myrtha had no reason at all to suspect that her abortion wasn't legal. The other deaths at that facility -- Ruth Montero, Shirley Payne, and Maura Morales -- were counted as legal abortion deaths.

Watch "Statistical Sleight-of-Hand" on YouTube.

Two news articles about Myrtha's death are available here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

December 16, 1984: Slipped Through the Coroner's Office

On December 15, 1984, Mary Pena underwent a safe and legal abortion at San Vincente Hospital in Los Angeles. She was 43 years old and the mother of five. 

Mary had thought that she was 3 months pregnant, but doctors discovered she was at 22 weeks. 

After the procedure, Mary was bleeding so heavily that a hysterectomy was performed in an effort to save her life. The surgery was not successful, and at 1:50 am on December 16, 1984, she died while on the operating table.

San Vicente owner, Dr. Edward Allred, slipped Mary's body past the coroner without an autopsy. However, when her death certificate was taken to Kern County Health Department they refused to accept it and contacted the Los Angeles Coroner. 

Mary's body was brought to LA County for an autopsy. Only then was it revealed that she had bled to death from cervical lacerations. Once a cause for the fatal hemorrhage was determined, the death certificate was accepted, and Mary was laid to rest.

San Vicente had been purchased by National Abortion Federation member Family Planning Associates Medical Group shortly before Mary's death. 

Other patients known to have died after abortion at Allred's facilities include:
  • Denise Holmes, age 24, December,1970
  • Patricia Chacon, age 16, March, 1984
  • Josefina Garcia, age 37, May, 1985
  • Lanice Dorsey, age 17, February, 1986
  • Joyce Ortenzio, age 32, June, 1988
  • Tami Suematsu, age 19, August, 1988
  • Susan Levy, age 30, May, 1992
  • Deanna Bell, age 13, September, 1992
  • Christine Mora, age 18, November, 1994
  • Ta Tanisha Wesson, age 24, February, 1995
  • Nakia Jorden, December, 1998
  • Maria Leho, June, 1999
  • Maria Rodriguez, age 22, March, 2000
  • Kimberly Neil, May, 2000
  • Chanelle Bryant, age 22, January, 2004
Watch "Third Dead of at least Sixteen" on YouTube.

December 16, 1981: Hospital Abortion Turns Fatal

Barbara Auerbach was 38 years old when she went to a New York hospital for a safe, legal abortion and tubal ligation, performed December 11, 1981. 

Two days later, she was discharged. 

On December 16, Barbara was vomiting and suffering from back pain and inability to void her bladder. She was admitted to Princeton Medical Center in Princeton, New Jersey. Doctors there tried in vain to save her life, but she died within three hours of being admitted. 

The autopsy showed that Barbara had an obstruction of her small bowel, which caused massive infection throughout her body.

Watch "Fatal Hospital Abortion" on YouTube.

December 16, 1998: A Lingering Death

Venus Ortiz
Venus Ortiz, was 23 years old when she went for a safe, legal abortion at National Abortion Federation member Eastern Women's Center in New York on February 24, 1993. Evidence indicated that the abortion of Venus' approximately 15-week pregnancy was performed by Dr. Leiber. Due to negligence in administering anesthesia to Venus, she went into cardio-respiratory arrest. Staff failed to notice and treat the arrest promptly and properly. 

Venus was left in permanent need of respirator, with profound brain damage. She remained in a coma/vegetative state until her death five years later in a Staten Island nursing home on December 16, 1998 at the age of 29. 

Two other patients, Dawn Ravenelle and Dawn Mack, also died of complications of abortions done at Eastern Women's Center. 

Other women who suffered severe brain injuries and died years later from those abortion complications include:
  • Suzanne Logan, who languished, mute and paralyzed, for three years until her death on December 1, 1992
  • Shelby Moran, who was cared for in a nursing home for over 20 years until her death on September 16, 1999
  • "Gabriella Alonso," who spent six years in a coma until her death in the summer of 2002
  • Christi Stile, who spent nearly 22 years in a vegetative state until her death on March 29, 2015
Watch "Safe Abortion, Lingering Death" on YouTube.

December 16, 1925: One of the Final Victims of Dr. Lucy Hagenow

Dr. Lucy Hagenow
On December 16, 1925, 22-year-old factory worker Bridget Masterson died in her Chicago home on Fullerton Avenue. The young Irish woman had only been in America six months. She died a painful death from abortion complications after refusing to implicate anybody.

Police somehow concluded that John Patrick O'Malley was the father of Bridget's baby. When they got no answer at his dwelling, they broke down the door and found O'Malley dead as gas wafted out of the room. He had pinned a note on his dresser saying:

Heloe (sic) brothers,

I am sorry to do this, but it is called for. Doctor Lady at 301 W. North avenue is a murderer, so it is up to ye to prosecute. She is the cause of me and Miss Masterson to be in our graves today. I request, I ask of ye, is bury me with miss (sic) Masterson. Go over & find our at 1106 Fullerton ave., where I was boarding.

Police went to 301 W. North Ave. and found the office of Dr. Lucy Hagenow. Hagenow, however, wasn't there. They eventually did catch her. She was arrested on December 15 and was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury on January 5, 1926, but the judge dismissed the charges for reasons I've been unable to determine. 

Hagenow, who had already been implicated of the abortion deaths of Louise Derchow, Annie Dorris, Abbia Richards, and Emma Dep in San Francisco, had relocated to Chicago, where she would find a more genial atmosphere for her criminal activities. Prior to Bridget's death she was implicated in the Chicago deaths of  Minnie Deering, Sophia Kuhn, Emily Anderson, Hannah Carlson, Marie Hecht, May Putnam, Lola Madison, Annie Horvatich, Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, and Elizabeth Welter. 

After the judge dismissed the charges against Hagenow for Bridget's death, she went on to perpetrate a fatal abortion on Mary Moorehead.  

Newly added sources:
    • "Operation Fatal to Girl; Youth Takes Own Life," Chicago Tribune December 21, 1925
    • Homicide case notes