Tuesday, March 30, 2021

March 30 and 31, 1930: Two Deaths Linked to Dr. Eade

Two Deaths in Two Days Linked to Dr. Thomas Eade

Yearbook photo of a smiling young white woman with bobbed hair, wearing a print dress
Gladys Anderson
During an inquest into the March 30, 1930 death of Gladys Anderson, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Illinois, word came that Cleo Hinton, a 24-year-old stenographer from Champaign, Illinois, had also died from a botched abortion. Both deaths were linked to Dr. Thomas Eade.

Cleo died in a Champaign hospital on March 31 due to peritonitis caused by an abortion. Eade was charged with murder in her death but was acquitted. Nevertheless the medical board was not satisfied and investigated to see if the evidence of his complicity was enough to revoke his license. 

Eade told the state medical board that when Cleo had come to him on March 23, he believed that she was suffering from intestinal influenza which could not have been caused by an abortion.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

March 25: Three Convictions Overturned in Third Patient Death INCORPORATE STUFF FROM NEW ARTICLES BELOW

In the spring of 1933, Edward Dettman's 21-year-old girlfriend, Mary Colbert, told him that she'd missed her period and wanted an abortion.  On March 15, Edward took her to 68-year-old Dr. Emil Gleitsman. Dettman agreed to pay $50 for the abortion in weekly installments of $8.

While Edward was present, Gleitsman examined Mary, inserted an instrument to perform the abortion, and inserted cotton soaked with a dark brown medicine.

About a week later, the couple returned to Gleitsmann's office. Edward waited while Gleitsmann took Mary back into his exam room.

On March 21, Mary took ill was cared for by her aunts. She asked one of them, Annie Colluden, to summon Gleitsmann. After Gleitsmann finished tending to Mary and was preparing to leave, Mrs. Collunden said, "Doctor, there has been something done to that girl.

Gleitsmann responded, "Yes. They get in trouble. They come to me and I help them out."

Mary later confided in her aunts about the abortion.

Mary died on March 25. Coroner's Physician Samuel A. Levinson performed an autopsy. He concluded that Mary had been three or four months into pregnancy when a criminal abortion was performed and that she'd died from the results. He said that the abortion was performed with instruments though he did not describe any lacerations, perforations, or abrasions in Mary's uterus.

When the police questioned Gleitsmann, he said that Mary and Edward had come to his office. Dettman, claiming to be Mary's husband, had told him that Mary was in a lot of pain and something needed to be done quickly. Gleitsmann said he'd quickly examined Mary and didn't find her to be pregnant but did find her to be suffering from blood poisoning and peritonitis. He said he treated her several time between that visit and her death.

He also denied having had the conversation with Mary's aunt.

Gleitsman had previously been was indicted for 22-year-old Lucille van Iderstine's abortion death in 1928 and for perpetrating a fatal abortion on Jeanette Reder in 1930.

Gleitsmann was found guilty of manslaughter on September 26, 1934 after having twice successfully appealed his convictions. His third conviction was also overturned on the grounds that the principle witness, Edward Dettman, was not only an accomplice in the alleged abortion but was a man of low character who had gotten Mary pregnant while married and the father of two children.

This left Gleitsmann free to continue practicing. He was later convicted of the abortion death of Marie O'Malley and sentenced to 14 years in prison at the age of 77.

Newly added sources:


March 25: Woman's Body Found on Country Road

Addie Wilson, age 48, was indicted for manslaughter and abortion conspiracy in connection with the death of 25-year-old Marie Swift. Marie's body was found on a country road on March 25, 1941.

Herman Ward, Marie's fiancé, was indicted for abortion and conspiracy.

Addie Wilson's 16-year-old son, Clarence, was held as a material witness.


  • "Indict Two in Death of Girl Found Dead in MD," Lancaster (PA) Intelligencer Journal, April 18, 1941

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

March 23: Body Found on Mountain

On March 23, 1950, someone strolling on the mountain close to Route 460 near Blacksburg, Virginia, found a young woman's body. The dead woman was identified as Alice Marie Taylor, age 24, a clerk for the Veterans Administration in Roanoke.

A note written in green on her death certificate says, "Will not know any more details until the alleged murderer is tried. It is alleged that an attempted abortion was done -- died in the attempt."

Dartha Louise Fulton, a 42-year-old former taxi driver, was arrested at a tourist camp and charged with murder. Police believed that Fulton had perpetrated the abortion. Woodson Tuck, age 20, was arrested as an accessory. Christine Jones, age 28, was held as a material witness.


March 23: Many Witnesses Point Fingers UPDATE WITH NEW SOURCES

Summary: Mary Noble, age 38, died from a botched abortion on March 19, 1867

Mary Noble, age 38, lay dying at her home at No. 54 Dominick Street in New York's 28th Precinct on March 23, 1867.  A police superintendent telegraphed coroner John Wildey to notify him so that he could hurry to the home and get a deathbed statement. Sadly, Wildey arrived to learn that Mary had died at 2:20 p.m. The chance to get a statement was passed.

The coroner spoke to the witnesses and learned that Mrs. Noble, a native of New Jersey, had been living at the home with George Wait Carson and her son, Wallace, who was about 18 years old.

While a physician performed an autopsy, the police arrested Carson. He told them that he had known Mary for about three years, first meeting her at her home in Jersey City. He moved in with Mary and her two children. When Ayers had returned from the war, Carson had moved out, but after a few months Ayers and Mary were unable to reconcile so Ayers moved out and Carson moved back in.

When Mary got pregnant, she and Carson had moved to the home on Dominick Street with her son, Wallace, who was about 18 years old. Carson said that the move had been to hide the pregnancy and arrange an abortion. 

Some time in February, about two weeks after the trio had settled in, Mary told Carson that she had been to a "Dr. Dubois," whose wife arranged an abortion for a $25 fee, (about $450 in 2021) with the first $10 paid in advance. 

Two or three days later Mary kept her appointment with "Dr. Dubois," who made an abortion attempt, done by attaching a battery to her body with leads and using some sort of instrument internally. When this failed to have its desired effect, Mary returned to "Dr. Dubois." A second attempt was made using some sort of internal injection of water. 

On February 21, Mary was suffering chills. Carson said that he fetched the doctor, who looked in on her for about five minutes.

On February 24, Mary expelled the fetus, which Carson put in a jar. He kept the fetus for about a week before he "boxed it up and threw it in the water-closet."

Mary had chest pain on the 29th. Carson again went looking for the doctor, but couldn't find him. He left a note indicating that Mrs. Noble needed him. 

"Dr. Dubois" attended to Mary several more times, but after a while refused any further care. It was at that point that Mary summoned Dr. McClelland, who was given all the facts and who in turn summoned Dr. Wood.

"Dr. Dubois" was actually William. F.J. Thiers. Police Captain John F. Dickson went to Thiers' premises at 627 Third-avenue with the coroner. The home was "sumptuously and comfortably fitted up."  Dickson found abortion instruments in a bureau drawer there. He also found "an immense collection of letters ... in relation to malpractices." Thiers also kept a receipt book indicating his patients, all of which police hoped would prove criminal intent in performing the abortion on Mary. 

Four women who were present there admitted that they were there for abortions. One woman, Maria Jones, later signed an affidavit before a judge stating that Thiers had perpetrated an abortion upon her on March 23.

Three different death certificates arrived at the registrar's office in the ensuing hours, each one incomplete. One of those was actually presented four times, at odd times, each time by a different person. The registrar stuck to procedures. He would not issue a burial permit unless the death certificate was complete. It must especially note the cause of death and be signed by either a physician or coroner.

Finally coroner John Wildey took charge of the situation. He preformed a post-mortem examination. "There is no doubt but that there has been foul play," he wrote to the registrar. Wildey noted that he had issued a burial permit and would notify the registrar of the outcome of the inquest.

The registrar protested but was outranked. Mary's family got their burial permit even though the law had not been followed and no legally completed death certificate had been filed.

Ayers, for a year or two. He testified that the split had been due to her being  He was notified that she was sick with neuralgia -- which she was prone to -- and that he'd headed to the city to see to her, only to arrive too late. He said he learned of the real cause of her death -- an abortion -- from the coroner."

He testified that he'd not known about the pregnancy until his mother took ill. His mother had asked him not to tell any relatives she was sick. It's not clear then, who told his father and uncle of Mary's illness. Wallace testified that he first learned of the abortion when he read about it in the newspaper.

Leander See, who was married to Mary's sister Emma, had received a telegram on Thursday that Mary was ill. He went to her, and she "told him she could not live, and that she had had an abortion produced."

Dr. John McClelland testified that he'd been called to care for Mary in her final sickness. He testified that Mary told him "that a miscarriage had been brought on by an eclectic physician, and that he had used instruments."

The coroner's jury concluded that Mary had died from pyemia, "resulting from an abortion produced by the prisoner, Wm. F.J. Thiers, alias Dr. Dubois. They further hold Amelia Armstrong, alias Madame Dubois, as accessory before the fact." Carson was tracked to New Jersey and arrested as well.

daughter, Josephine,

Newly added sources:

Friday, March 19, 2021

March 19: Many Deaths, Little Information

Another Victim of Eisiminger or Thacker?

Geraldine Easley, age 19, admitted before her death on March 19, 1932*, that she had undergone a criminal abortion. Since Dr. James W. Eisiminger and Dr. Richard E. Thacker had been responsible for a string of other criminal abortion deaths in the Oklahoma City area, suspicion in Geraldine's death naturally leaned toward the two known quack abortionists. However, to my knowledge the specific perpetrator was not identified. (*Her headstone indicates she died in 1931.) Source: "Probe May Show Many Deaths Due to Malpractice," The Fresno Bee-Republican, April 29, 1932

Scant Info on Chicago Deaths

On March 19, 1916, 30-year-old Carolina Petritz died at the Chicago office of midwife Paulina Erlomus, who had perpetrated the fatal abortion there that day. Erlomus was held by the Coroner but the case never went to trial. (Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database)

Olivia Becker, a 34-year-old homemaker and mother of two, died in Chicago from abortion complications on March 19, 1915.  I have been unable to gain any other information about Olivia's death. (Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database)

A Tad More Information in Chicago

At about 4:00 p.m. on March 19, 1907, homemaker Bessie Ruby Simmons, age 30, died at her Chicago home. She left her husband to care for their two young children.

A coroner's jury found that she had died from blood poisoning caused by a criminal abortion perpetrated on February 22. They assigned blame to Dr. Charles D. Hughes (or Hews), who was arrested in the death. Hughes admitted that he had treated Bessie but denied any responsibility for her death. A second doctor, H. Doyle, had been called to attend to Bessie but was cleared of blame by the jury. I can't find any evidence that the case ever went to trial.


Monday, March 15, 2021

March 15: Fatal Cluelessness

It was March 15, 1988. Eighteen-year-old Erna Mae Fisher was nervous as 41-year-old Dennis W. Miller prepared to perform a safe and legal abortion on her on in his Kansas City, Kansas office. Miller brought Erna's mother, Ocie, into the room to hold her daughter's hand. During the abortion, Erna suddenly sat up, went into convulsions, and began to vomit.

Miller continued with the abortion while Erna choked to death on her own vomit. He delayed another 10 minutes before summoning emergency help. When an ambulance crew arrived, they found Erna's airway still full of vomit. Miller was making no attempt at resuscitation, but was holding Erna in his arms. He justified failing to check her airway or provide her with oxygen by saying, "Since I didn't realize what was going on, I didn't think it would have made any difference."

Miller later admitted that he had given Erna pain medications that he knew could cause vomiting, and that he hadn't asked her when she had last eaten.

Like other young Black women, Erna had faced twice the risk of death as a white woman from the moment she climbed on the abortion table. She left an infant daughter motherless.

Miller settled out-of-court with Erna's family for $475,000.

Miller had already settled six malpractice cases in the Kansas City area for a total of nearly $2 million. Another suit, settled for $2.2 million, involved botched obstetric care that caused a little boy to be born prematurely and suffer intellectual and physical disabilities as a result. 

He had failed the Missouri state medical exam three times before finally giving up. It took nine tries for him to pass the exam to be licensed in Kansas.

Even after Erna's death, Adele Hughey, director of Comprehensive Health for Women, said that Miller had been performing abortions there since the early 1980s. "We have a lot of confidence in him. He knows how to provide excellent abortion services and is very good." 

Miller was able to keep his medical license and continued to practice, botching a delivery in 2006 which resulted in the death of the baby.  Once again he did not lose his license, but was only censured and fined. He was later censured for botching a C-section in 2009, nearly killing the mother; botching the care of a diabetic obstetric patient so badly in 2011 that she nearly died and her baby was injured during delivery; and botching a tumor removal so badly in 2012 that the woman died. This time they finally permanently suspended his license.

Newly added sources:

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

March 10: Self-Induced Abortion Leads to Man's Conviction for Conspiracy

Carson Sterling of New Holland, PA was convicted of having conspired with Naomi Frances Resh of Leacock Township to commit the abortion that caused her death.

Carson and Naomi were a couple from June to September of 1891. At that point, they had a quarrel and remained apart until February of 1892, when Carson went to Naomi's home, where she lived with her aunts twice. That month, Naomi left home and her aunts didn't see her again until February 24. She had gone to Philadelphia with Carson to meet a doctor "who would relieve Naomi of her trouble for $100." The doctor was a no-show so the couple went to New York to see Dr. H. W. Harner, also of New Holland, who was in New York attending professional lectures.

The couple met with Harner, and Naomi asked him to perpetrate an abortion. Harner told Naomi that abortion was dangerous and advised her not to go through with it. The couple then went to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, remaining overnight before returning home on February 24.

There Naomi performed a self-induced abortion, delivering a premature and presumably dead baby. Dr. Sample was called in to treat Naomi but she was beyond help and died in early March.

One of Naomi's aunts, Hettie Grillabertzer, and two doctors, Brainard Leaman and Samuel Sample, testified that Naomi told them that she'd done the abortion with an instrument Carson had given her.

Carson said that he'd arranged to marry Naomi but her aunts objected to the engagement was broken off. He said that when they left Naomi's home he was planning to take her to Camden, New Jersey, to get married, but when they got as far as Philadelphia Naomi backed out. He said that he knew nothing about the abortion.

Carson appealed his conviction on technical grounds.

Monday, March 08, 2021

March 7: Fatal Abortion at Birthing Center

SUMMARY: Gloria Jeanie Small, age 34, died March 7, 1978 after an abortion performed by Ronald Tauber at his Orlando Birthing Center in Orlando, FL.

Dr. Ronald Tauber considered himself a maverick. Tauber was a risk-taker. He lost his medical privileges over an abortion he'd performed at Florida Hospital. The administration wasn't too upset that the baby in question had been between 23 and 24 weeks of gestation -- teetering on the cusp between Constitutionally protected second-trimester abortions and illegal third-trimester abortions. Rather, he had raised the ire of the hospital administrators, as one said, because he had performed the abortion on the medical ward. As an administrator said, "There was the possibility of delivering a live fetus and the nurses were afraid to work the case. It also would have been a problem to put the patient on the obstetrical floor where babies are born... the nurses here were very upset about the entire situation and Dr. Tauber didn't settle the problem."

Long story short: The problem wasn't the age of the fetus Tauber aborted. It was that he put the nurses in a bad situation and the administration backed the nurses.

Shortly after losing his privileges at Florida Hospital, he lost his privileges and position at Orlando General Hospital. He had been Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Tauber said that the move was part of a conspiracy between the two hospitals to persecute him for performing late second-trimester abortions at Florida Hospital. Orlando General Hospital's president, however, said, "Dr. Tauber was suspended from our staff because he didn't meet the standards of practice as held by this hospital."

Tauber responded by opening the Orlando Birthing Center in Orlando, Florida. Tauber said that he wanted to provide a more family-centered and lower-cost birthing experience. Though he lacked privileges to admit any of his patients to a fully-equipped hospital, he said that he had arrangements with local physicians who did have privileges and would admit any of his patients who needed such care. All might have gone well had he stuck with delivering living babies. But he also decided that he was just as interested in making sure fetuses came out dead as in helping them emerge alive. As a space to do the abortions, as well as tubal ligations and C-sections, Tauber converted a concrete building adjacent to the gracious birthing center into a surgical ward.

Tauber's birthing center, like his last abortion at Florida Hospital, danced in a gray zone of legality. Tauber intended to keep fewer than three patients at a time overnight, and thus his center didn't qualify as a hospital. He also didn't fall under the category for ambulatory surgical centers. A consultant for the Florida Health and Rehabilitative Services Office of Licensure and Certification said, "As long as Tauber says his facility is a doctor's office, we have no jurisdiction."

And it was into the gray zone that Gloria Jeanie Small walked one spring day.

Gloria, a 34-year-old mother of six, went to 
Ronald Tauber for a safe and legal abortion. Despite Gloria's obesity, asthma, chronic lung disease, and family history of high blood pressure, Tauber elected to perform the 15-week abortion at his Orlando Birthing Center on March 6, 1978.

Gloria's uterus was punctured in the abortion. Tauber packed Gloria's uterus with medical gauze, which appeared to have controlled the bleeding. However, the next day he removed the packing and the hemorrhage resumed.

Tauber did not transfer Gloria to a hospital until 30 hours after she had been injured. , and died despite an emergency hysterectomy. The medical examiner said that Gloria's medical history should have precluded performing an abortion in an outpatient setting. The medical board faulted him with failing to transfer to a hospital as soon as he'd had the bleeding stabilized with packing, and with trying to remove the packing in a setting where there was no blood available for a transfusion. A court-appointed panel found Tauber negligent in Gloria's death.

The repercussions for the 31-year-old Tauber were astonishing, given the legality of Gloria's abortion. He was dismissed from the staff of two hospitals, had his medical license suspended, and was charged with manslaughter. However, I have found no record that the case ever went to trial.

Gloria, like other Black women, faced a higher risk of abortion death than a white woman.

Newly added sources:

March 8: For the Love of Money

SUMMARY: Rita McDowell, age 16, died March 8, 1975 after an incomplete abortion performed by Robert Sherman at Columbia Family Planning Clinic in Washington, DC.

On March 4, 1975, Robert Julius Sherman (pictured, left) performed a safe and legal abortion on Rita, who was in the second trimester of her pregnancy at his Columbia Family Planning Clinic. Rather than admit her to the hospital for the then-standard saline abortion, Sherman performed a vacuum aspiration abortion usually used for first trimester abortions. He used a 7 mm. cannula, which would be too small for the parts of a 12-week fetus to pass through and would therefore leave parts of the fetus, if not the entire fetus, still in her uterus.

When Sherman discharged Rita, he told her mother that she would probably expel the fetus that night. As they left the office, Rita told her mother, "Oh, Mama, I feel like I had one hundred needles in me."

Rita did not expel the fetus. Instead, she developed a fever. Her mother called Sherman's facility on March 5 to seek care for her daughter. She said that Sherman would not speak to her, and that the receptionist told her to bring Rita in two days later.

In the early morning hours of March 7, Rita awoke screaming, then collapsed in her mother's arms. Doctors at the hospital where Rita was taken removed the macerated fetus, but she died from massive infection just after midnight on March 8.

An investigation into Rita's death revealed evidence that Sherman deliberately performed incomplete abortions so that he could charge an additional $150 for follow-up care. He was performing anywhere from six to 25 abortions daily. 

Sherman was charged with murder in Rita's death, and prosecutors presented witnesses and evidence that Sherman re-used disposable canulas; used unsterized tenaculums, sounds, and forceps; dumped the urine he collected for pregnancy tests instead of performing the tests; failed to do pathology examinations of abortion tissues; allowed a nurse's aide to perform surgery; and falsified medical records. In Rita's case, he tampered with her records, fabricated an appointment book, and faked a phone message.

Testimony during his trial indicated that Sherman would send patients home with green plastic trash bags to collect fetuses that they expelled at home after their incomplete abortions. He also performed saline abortions on an outpatient basis, injecting the saline then sending the patients home. 

After the trial ended in a hung jury, Sherman pleaded guilty to 25 counts of perjury in exchange for dropping the murder charge in Rita's death. He was sentenced to 60 - 90 months but was released after serving only 22 months. He moved to Massachusetts, where he had originally been licensed, in July of 1981 and set up practice there. Only when People magazine published an article about Rita's death did anybody in Sherman's home state think to address whether he should be practicing medicine at all. 

In a bid to keep his license, Sherman placed the blame on the hospital where Rita had died. An associate, Dr. Karl Jonas, told the New York Times, "I believe he was persecuted. He was taking care of a group of [Medicaid] patients that most doctors wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. You can't practice a carriage trade on them. He was casual, undoubtedly too casual, possibly careless, but certainly not criminal."

Rita's mother sued Sherman, and he settled out-of-court for $525,000. Sherman sued his insurance company for refusing to provide him with an attorney and to pay the settlement on his behalf, mainly based on legal issues regarding the policy rather than regarding the malpractice itself. I've been unable to sort out the legalese to figure out if Rita's mother ever was compensated for her daughter's death.

Watch Set Up for Death on YouTube.


Sunday, March 07, 2021

March 7:

SUMMARY: Mrs. Hattie Myers, age 19, died at Wichita Hospital on the morning of Tuesday, March 7, 1922 after an abortion attributed to Dr. Charles C. Keester.

Hattie Mae Fields Myers, age 19, died at Wichita Hospital on the morning of Tuesday, March 7, 1922. After hearing the testimony of twelve witnesses, including four doctors, a coroner's jury concluded that Hattie had died from complications of an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Charles C. Keester. He was arrested on March 10, charged with two counts of manslaughter -- one for Hattie's death, and another for the death of her unborn bay. Hattie was the second woman that I know of whose abortion death was attributed to Keester. The others are:
  • Mrs. Virgil Rector, late November or early December, 1921
  • Hazel Hadicke, age 19, December 16, 1923
  • Loren Franklin, age 19, August, 1924
  • "Bonnie," age 18, August, 1924,
  • Rena Armstrong, age 17, February 28, 1930

San Mateo Doctor Dumps Body, 1919

Inez Reed, age 28, died in San Mateo, California on March 7, 1919 after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Ephraim Northcott, a relative of the notorious serial murderer Gordon Northcott. Inez's body was found dumped in a ravine.

A Murder Mystery Connected With Abortion Death, Chicago, 1913

The March 7, 1913 death of 16-year-old Edna Ruth Frederickson was tangled up in a tale of murder and intrigue that led to much speculation but few conclusions. I've been unable to learn the details of her untimely death.

Edna was employed at a Chicago candy shop for $2 per week, and turned her wages over to her mother. Wanting to have some money for herself, and unhappy at home, Edna turned to a co-worker at the candy company, a married woman who went by the names of Lillie Dearborn and Kitty Young.

Dearborn took Edna to the Dreamland Dance Hall, "and Edna soon began to earn more money." Evidently through a connection she made at Dreamland, Edna became pregnant.

George Ringler Jr., who was responsible for Edna's pregnancy, was first sought aboard a steamer where he worked as a machinist, but for some unexplained reason he was not aboard when the ship sailed.

A German newspaper clipping about Edna's death was found in the pocket of George Dietz, a murder victim. Also in Dietz's pocket was the business card of Dr. Eva Conheim. Eventually, Dietz's widow, Augusta, was implicated in his murder, and beyond the clipping and business card, no connection was ever made between Dietz and Edna.

A New Berlin, IL, Midwife's Fatal Work in 1908

On March 7, 1908, unmarried seamstress Nellie Shuff, age 26, of New Berlin, Illinois, died at Wesley Hospital in Chicago. Nellie had lived as a boarder in the home of widow Martha Scott. The coroner's jury determined that she died from complications of an abortion that had been perpetrated at a home on Forest Avenue. Seventy-one-year-old midwife Johanna White was arrested, tried, and sentenced to one to ten years at Joliet for the death. White was so old and feeble that she had to be carried in and out of the courtroom, and was not expected to survive the length of her sentence.

A Medical Student's Deadly Work on his Fiancée, Peekskill, NY, 1881

Mary Maber, age 20, died in Peekskill, New York on March 7, 1881, after lingering for a year with complications of an abortion perpetrated by her boyfriend, medical student Vincent Height, who married her on her deathbed after she had languished for nearly a year. Height was tried in April of 1881, but the case resulted in a hung jury after 20 hours of deliberation.

Midwife Prosecuted for 1875 New York City Death

On March 7, 1875, 20-year-old Antoinette Fennor died at the home of New York midwife/abortionist Catherine Maxwell. News coverage of the coroner's inquest gives us an interesting glimpse into how abortion was practiced, investigated, and prosecuted in Brooklyn in the late 19th century, and how the public responded to abortion deaths. They certainly didn't take the bored, "You pays your money and you takes your chances" attitude I see people taking toward modern abortion deaths. Follow the link to learn more. The verdict was that Antoinette died of peritonitis March 7, 1875, from an abortion performed about February 26 by Mrs. Maxwell. Jennie Gale, the witness who admitted to having Maxwell do an abortion on her, and John Betts were accessories. All three were arrested.

The Brooklyn Eagle spared no words in its castigation of Betts, saying that he "helped [Antoinette] into her grave, and cheated a product of love and guilt out of its right to be born."

In striking contrast to a modern abortion death case, there were none of the signs of concern for women's lives that you see nowadays. There was no knot of supporters outside holding signs saying "Mrs. Maxwell Helps Women". There was no ad-hoc coalition of lobbying and activist organizations forming a legal defense fund for the woman who killed Antoinette. And there was no group of young admirers asking Mrs. Maxwell to come speak to them about how they could follow in her footsteps. There were none of those familiar signs we see nowadays about how important it is to protect women from lethal butchery. No, back then, when nobody cared about women's lives, being party to a woman's abortion death just got you scorn, infamy, and a prison sentence.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

March 6: Ellen Williams

"Don't go out and put yourself in the hands of quacks, dear. 
There are plenty of places that don't care about women like we do."Betty EasonOwner, Dadeland Family Planning

Ellen Lorena Williams, age 38, was as a personnel manager for the Dade County, Florida school board when she learned that she was pregnant in early 1995. A married woman living in Richmond Heights, Ellen had a 10-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter and didn't want any more children. She opted for an abortion.

Chatoor Bisal Singh performed Ellen's abortion at Dadeland Family Planning in Miami on March 2. Since Ellen was a big woman, 6 feet tall and weighing nearly 300 pounds, Singh had used an ultrasound to estimate Ellen's pregnancy at 13 weeks.

On March 4, Ellen returned with her husband, Walter, doubled over and rocking back and forth in pain. Betty Eason gave her some tea, settled her in a Naugahyde lounge chair, covered her with a blanket, then called Singh, who arrived four hours later.

Singh examined Ellen, then turned her over to 
Nabil Ghali, who performed a second D&C and sent Ellen home with a bottle of antibiotics. Eason had taken a blood sample from Ellen, but the laboratory was unable to do a culture on it because Eason had used a contaminated container.

At 3:48 p.m. on March 5, Ellen was rushed by ambulance to Coral Reef Hospital. On arrival she was in pain and suffering from a fever of 105 degrees. She was rushed into surgery. She died in the intensive care unit at 10:25 a.m. on March 6. The autopsy revealed that she had uterine and bowel perforations, causing the peritonitis that killed her. Like a disproportionate number of women who die from purportedly safe and legal abortions, Ellen was Black.

Singh told the Miami Herald that he didn't usually work at Dadeland, but was "strapped for cash" and agreed to fill in for Robert Kast while he was away. Singh described himself as "not an abortionist, just an honest, easygoing guy looking for something temporary.

After Ellen's death, Singh quit working at Dadeland, saying, "It was a bad month." It certainly was: the same day he'd performed the first abortion on Ellen Williams, Singh also did an abortion on a woman identified as "Patricia W.," who afterward hemorrhaged and passed a portion of her fetus, which Singh had failed to remove. When she returned with it to the clinic, staff told her it was "a blood clot," but a hospital later verified that it was a 16-week fetal head.

"I freaked out, I didn't know what to do," Patricia told the Miami Herald. "I could see the eyes, and the arms and legs."

As for the abortion-rights movement, did they demand better for women like Patricia and Ellen? To the contrary. When the state legislature moved to try to beef up standards for abortion clinics, clinic owners banded together and formed the Florida Abortion Council. Backed by the strength of the prochoice lobby, they were able to block efforts to address seedy abortion clinics. As Florida Abortion Council head Janis Compton-Carr put it, "In my gut, I am completely aghast at what goes on at that place. But I staunchly oppose anything that would correct this situation in law."

Watch Precursor to Gosnell on YouTube.

Newly added sources:

March 6: Beatrice Fisher

SUMMARY: Beatrice Fisher, age 36, died on March 6, 1945 after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Frank Hart in his Seattle, WA practice.

Beatrice Fern Fisher, age 36, operated a gas station and grocery store with her husband, Lyle, in Snohomish county, about seventeen miles north of Seattle. The couple had three children, aged 14, 13, and 4. Around 1937, Beatrice had successfully sought an abortion, performed by the same Seattle doctor who had delivered her oldest child. Around March 4 of 1945, Beatrice informed her husband that she was pregnant, and that she intended to return to Seattle for an abortion to be performed by the woman who'd done the first abortion. Her husband wasn't happy with the plan, but left the matter to his wife.

BeatriceFisherDenies.pngOn March 5, Beatrice took her four-year-old daughter and $100 in cash and drove to Seattle to seek her former physician. On the way to Seattle, Beatrice stopped at the home of her mother-in-law, Ethel Howard. Mrs. Howard was a practical nurse. While at her mother-in-law's house, Beatrice called a "Dr. T" and spoke to him about having an abortion done. This was the first Mrs. Howard learned of the pregnancy.

At some point that morning, Beatrice called her husband and said that she'd not been able to talk to her doctor, but that the nurse at the doctor's office had referred her to "Dr. T" in Seattle.

Beatrice, her mother-in-law, and the little girl went to Seattle, to Dr. T's office. They arrived at around noon. Dr. T was not available, but his nurse gave Beatrice a business card from Dr. T. On the back, she wrote the name of Dr. Frank C. Hart, along with the address of his office in the Joshua Green building in Seattle.

Beatrice and her companions went to Hart's office, where they found a waiting room full of women but no nurse. Later, Hard came into the waiting room and announced, "Five of you women that came in just now leave and those that were here yesterday remain." Mrs. Howard left with the little girl, but Beatrice stayed.

On the drive home, at about 5:00, Beatrice stopped at her mother-in-law's home. She said she had a severe headache. She was perspiring heavily. Mrs. Howard, following Dr. Hart's instructions, gave her daughter-in-law black tea and put a hot water bottle under her back. That was when she noticed that Beatrice's genitals were bandaged.

Beatrice stayed in bed for about 45 minutes, then got up for dinner with her in-laws. She left for home at about 8:30, stopping at the gas station to pick up her husband.

The following morning, Beatrice told her husband that she was returning to Dr. Hart to have "blood clots" removed. She looked tired. She took her daughter with her again, stopping again at her mother-in-law's house. The three went into Seattle, ate lunch, then went to Hart's office. During the trip, Beatrice reported chest and arm pain, and her face was flushed deep red.

At Hart's office, the women again found a waiting room full of women, but no nurse. Again, Hart made the announcement that those who were there for the first time were to leave, and the rest were to remain. He told Beatrice to proceed into the office. Mrs. Howard told Hart that she was very concerned about Beatrice. Fisher told her, "This is no place for relations and children. Meet her downstairs in the lobby."

Expecting her daughter-in-law to be ready to leave in about 20 minutes, Mrs. Howard went to do some shopping. On returning to the building, she found a crowd of people gathered in the lobby near the flower shop. Mrs. Howard approached the group and found Beatrice lying dead.

The autopsy determined that Beatrice had been about two months pregnant. There were clear signs that somebody had performed a curettage. The uterine wall had been gouged in several places. Clots had formed over these gouges. The coroner concluded that one of these clots had formed an embolism that had lodged in Beatrice's lung, causing her death.

On March 7, Hart was arrested. He showed authorities through his premises and gave instruments into evidence, including sponge-forceps and irrigating curettes. When questioned, Hart said that he kept no patient records and didn't give receipts.

Hart was convicted of abortion and manslaughter in Beatrice's death.

Beatrice's abortion was typical of illegal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

Thursday, March 04, 2021

March 4: Louise Marie Starts String of Abortion Deaths

As of the day before yesterday, this is pretty much all I'd known about Dr. C. W. Milliken:

"On the first of March, 1921, Dr. C.W. Milliken performed an abortion on Iva J. Triplett. Milliken was practicing in Akron, Ohio. Immediately after the abortion, Iva became severely ill. She continued under Milliken's care until she died of septicemia and peritonitis the following week, leaving a widower and children. The Elyria, Ohio Chronicle Telegram described Milliken as a "prominent democratic politician."

In October of 1920, 19-year-old Frances Karies died at Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital from a criminal abortion that had been performed in Akron, Ohio, by Dr. C. W. Milliken. The coroner recommended Milliken's arrest, but there is no record if any legal action was taken against him for Frances's death.

The Lima (Ohio) News notes that Milliken was also charged with performing a fatal abortion on Florence Cobb. He was held on $10,000 bail in each case, Iva's and Florence's.

Charles Waldstein Millikin, sixth son of Thomas and Tamar (Clark) Milliken, was born Apr. 17, 1856 in Johnston, Trumbull County, Ohio. An allopath, Milliken was an 1880 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He was licensed in Ohio in 1896 after having served a residency at Harrisburg Hospital and Philadelphia Hospital in Pennsylvania. He practiced in Akron until his death from cerebral hemorrhage and chronic myocarditis on April 13, 1929. He and his wife, Katherine McEbright, who married October 9, 1894, never had any children."

As I often do when the anniversaries of women's deaths approach, I went to a newspaper archive to see if anything new had been uploaded about Iva Triplett, who died on March 6, 1921. I found an article from the Akron Beacon Journal dated March 15, 1921. As I opened it up to resize it and put the newspaper name and date on, I noticed a name I'd not associated with Milliken before: Marie M. Vogt. As I read through the article I found yet another dead woman: Maud Sporn.

This article had enough details for me to piece together a timeline:

c. September 23, 1920, abortion performed on Frances
October 2, 1920, abortion performed on Maud
October 12, Maud dies
October 23, 1920, Frances dies in Chicago

January 18, 1921, abortion performed on Florence

c. April 15, 1921, abortion performed on Louise Marie
March 1, 1921 abortion performed on Iva 
March 4, 1921, Louise Marie dies
March 6, 1921, Florence dies
March 9, 1921 Iva dies 

I'd known that Milliken had died a free man from other research I'd done. I'd wondered how he'd managed to stay free after killing three women in criminal abortions in such a short space of time. 

Today, when putting the finishing touches on my data collection, I did a search for Milliken himself, and found one article after the other lauding his political activism. I had to put Marie's name in before I found the article that, aside from listing her name as Louise Marie rather than Marie M, clarifies how Milliken got away with it all.

He plea bargained before a sympathetic judge.

Never underestimate the advantages of being politically connected.


Wednesday, March 03, 2021

March 3: Patricia Chacon

The National Abortion Federation, an organization of abortion practitioners and their for-profit and non-profit abortion facilities, is highly reputable in abortion-rights circles. Sixteen-year-old Patricia Chacon lost her life after placing her trust in one of those NAF members. 

Patricia had no way of knowing, as she climbed onto the abortion table at Avalon Hospital, that 24-year-old Denise Holmes had died at Avalon in December of 1970. She also had no way of knowing that she would become the second of more than a dozen women for whom a safe, legal abortion at Family Planning Associates would be the last choice she would ever make.

Edward Allred
Patricia, 24 weeks pregnant, underwent a safe and legal abortion at the hands of Edward Allred, assisted by Leslie Orleans at Allred's Avalon Hospital in Los Angeles on the morning of March 3, 1984. The abortion took five hours to complete.

Patricia retained fetal tissues, so she was scheduled for a second procedure that afternoon to complete the abortion.
There are conflicting stories as to what happened next. Allred pronounced Patricia dead at 4:30 pm, saying that Patricia died of an embolism during the second surgery.  Patricia's parents claim that their child bled to death while left unattended.

An autopsy found numerous catgut sutures in Patricia's vagina and hemorrhage in her uterus. Death was attributed to disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC, a clotting disorder) due to abortion-induced amniotic fluid embolism (amniotic fluid in the bloodstream).  

Patricia's parents sued Allred and Orleans for their daughter's death. Since one of the things DIC causes is massive hemorrhage, Patricia's parents are probably correct in blaming her death on blood loss. They also asserted that Patricia had been given substandard care due to Allred's racism. Given Allred's public statemen about wanting to set up an abortion clinic in Calexico so that he could abort the babies of women crossing the border from Mexico, they might have had a point.

Avalon Hospital was part of Edward Allred's Family Planning Associates Medical Group, a National Abortion Federation member facility. Allred claimed that Patricia had been the first dead patient at one of his clinics, overlooking the fact that he had owned the hospital where Denise Holmes had died from abortion complications in 1970.

Other women known to have died after abortion at the chain of facilities founded by Allred include:

  • Mary Pena, age 43, 1984
  • Josefina Garcia, age 37, 1985
  • Laniece Dorsey, age 17, 1986
  • Joyce Ortenzio, age 32, 1988
  • Tami Suematsu, age 19, 1988
  • Susan Levy, age 30, 1992
  • Deanna Bell, age 13, 1992
  • Christine Mora, age 18, 1994
  • Ta Tanisha Wesson, age 24, 1995
  • Nakia Jorden, 1998
  • Maria Leho, 1999
  • Kimberly Neil, 2000
  • Maria Rodriguez, age 22, 2000
  • Chanelle Bryant, age 22, 2004
  • "Kyla Ellis," age 23, 2014

  • Watch Callousness or Racism? on YouTube.

    Newly added sources: