Sunday, January 31, 2021

January 31: Would Margaret Have Died Anyway?

On January 25, 1915, Dr. E. M. Ullrich of Brooklyn, was called in to attend to 20-year-old Margaret Bereis at her home on Warhope St. in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. He found her with a high fever. The next day he consulted with Dr. Jensen concerning Margaret's high fever. They concurred that she was suffering from septicemia. Ullrich continued to care for her until her death on January 31, filling out her death certificate attributing her death "Acute Septicemia And Suppurative Peritonitis Caused By Infection Following An Abortion."

We can speculate about whether Margaret would have found a more skilled practitioner had abortion been legal, but in any event, infection is a known abortion complication. It is also a complication that was extremely difficult to treat in 1915, with the development of penicillin more than a decade in the future and widespread use of antibiotics still two world wars away.

After legalization, according to theory, unskilled or careless abortion practitioners would be replaced by reputable doctors, and women would no longer needlessly die. However, even before the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision struck down all US abortion laws in 1973, women were already starting to die needlessly from the purportedly safe legal abortions.

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