Tuesday, December 14, 2021

December 14: Typical for Chicago, Self-Induced in Pittsburgh, and Scanty Information from New York

 There are four abortion deaths in the Cemetery of Choice that took place on this date: three illegal and one legal. Three of the four were performed by doctors.

On December 14, 1911, 34-year-old mother-of-four Ella Kettler died at German American Hospital in Chicago from an abortion that Dr. Robert H. Foster had perpetrated at his practice on December 2.  Ella, a homemaker, had named Foster as her abortionist in a deathbed statement. Foster was held by the Coroner's Jury and indicted on December 19, but the case never went to trial. (Newly-added source: Untitled entry, The Day Book, December 15, 1911) Foster appeared to be a bit of a troublesome husband as well as a troublesome abortionist, since just months later his 18-year-old wife, Lillian, sought legal protection from him under allegations that he was drinking heavily and threatening to kill her. ("'Girls, Don't Elope,' Mrs. Foster's Advice," The Inter-Ocean, February 21, 1912"Doctor Has Another Chance," The Inter-Ocean, February 24, 1912)

On December 14, 1916, 19-year-old clerical worker Eleanor Dillon died at Chicago's Columbus Hospital from septic peritonitis caused by a criminal abortion.  Eleanor had named Dr. Maurice R. Perlstein of Milwaukee Avenue as her abortionist in a deathbed statement. Abe Krucherski of North Kedzie Avenue and Michael Schackman of South Sawyer Avenue were held to the Grand Jury. Perlstein was charged with murder. (Newly added sources: "Men Held for Girl's Death," Chicago Tribune, December 16, 1916; "Doctor Held for Murder," Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1917)

Walter Hufnagel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, noticed on Wednesday, December 4, 1918, that his wife, 19-year-old Emma Hufnagel, was sick with body aches. By Saturday, December 7, Emma's mother, Louise Jackson, was told of Emma's illness and went to visit her. Emma told her mother that, since her period had been about two weeks late, and believing herself to be pregnant, she had used a catheter on herself on November 30. On December 9, the family agreed to move Emma to her mother's house, but Emma didn't do any better under her mother's care, so they the next day they brought her to Presbyterian Hospital. In spite of doctors' best efforts, Emma died of peritonitis and septicemia at around 2:15 a.m. on December 14.

Edith Cote was 38 years old when she submitted to a safe and legal abortion in New York. On December 14, 1991, she was unresponsive and was taken to the emergency room at Syosset Hospital.  Hospital staff were unable to save Edith's life. Her cause of death was listed on her death certificate as pulmonary amniotic embolism after an induced abortion.

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