Monday, August 08, 2022

August 8, 1905: Abortifacient Proves Fatal

Jennie L. Young lived in Washington, Pennsylvania with her widowed father, Franklin Young. Jennie, an only child, kept house for him.

On July 15, Jennie took ill. She was attended by Dr. W. L. Crawford for four days, then Dr. N. S. Dunning was called in on a consultation. Both doctors attended to Jennie together.

On August 3, Jennie made an affidavit before Squire Harvey Brush, stating that Norman Schaeffer, a 40-year-old widowed railroad worker and father of three, had provided her with three abortifacient drugs. He was arrested the following day.

Jennie continued to sicken and died of infection at 8:40 pm on August 8, 1905. 

Jennie's father, Franklin Young, testified at the inquest that Jennie had told him that Schaeffer had gotten her the drugs. A neighbor, Mary Snultz, testified that Jennie had indicated that she was about four months pregnant and that a man had provided her with abortifacient drugs. 

During his trial, the prosecution was able to prove that Shaeffer was employed by the Kerbaugh Company and while working near Washington Borough "made the acquaintance" of Jennie Young. The two had a relationship for a period of several months.

Jennie's signed statement was entered into court records. However, due to a lack of any corroborating evidence the judge directed a verdict of not guilty.


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