Thursday, January 09, 2020

January 9

On January 9, 1918, 39-year-old Mary Cusack, a widowed homemaker, died at Chicago's West Side Hospital from septicemia caused by an abortion perpetrated that day by Dr. William A. McFarlane. He was indicted on January 15, 1918, but the case never went to trial. Mary was an immigrant from Ireland.

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.

In fact, due to improvements in addressing these problems, maternal mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion across America.

For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

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