Friday, June 30, 2023

June 30, 1889: Happy Birthday, Phoenix Doe

Among the tragedies at Moshe Hachamovitch's A - Z abortion facility in Arizona there was a miracle that started with a screw-up.

An unnamed 17-year-old girl went to A - Z, seeking a late second-trimester abortion. She was self-referred after a positive home pregnancy test. The date was June 29, 1998.

John Biskind
Dr. John Biskind diagnosed the girl as being 23.6 weeks pregnant based on an ultrasound. The following day, June 30, he began trying to remove the fetus.

The Associated Press story leaves it unclear whether Biskind noticed his mistake and chose to deliver the baby live, or whether she simply came out whole and breathing. Either way, she turned out to be very much alive, not dead as intended despite the fractured skull and two deep facial lacerations she had suffered during the attempt on her life.

Local prolifers dubbed the baby "Phoenix".

After her unintended birth, Phoenix was transferred to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. She weighed in at 6 pounds, two ounces. She was actually closer to full term -- 37 weeks of gestation. Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Torres told the Associated Press that a Texas couple were to adopt her.

Dr. John Mattox of Good Samaritan told the AP that given the differences in size and lie of fetuses of 23 weeks and 37 weeks, the mistake ought not to have happened. Dr. Carolyn Gerster of Arizona Right to Life noted that a 24 week fetus typically weighs only about 2 pounds, a third the size of Phoenix. She said, "With an ultrasound, there shouldn't be that kind of discrepancy." Even abortionist Dr. Brian Finkel agreed, saying that "Missing a 37-week gestation and confusing it with a 23-week pregnancy is unacceptable."

The AP reported that Biskind had gotten letters of concern from the medical board in 1989 for misdiagnosis and in 1990 for improper prescribing. He was censured in 1996 for "gross neglect/conduct harmful to patients or the public." What the AP failed to report was that 1990 letter of concern was for attempting to abort a term-infant he had diagnosed as only 10 weeks of gestation, and he was censured again in 1995 due to the death of an abortion patient, Lisa Bardsley.

Biskind's license was finally revoked in 1998, in the wake of his conviction in the death of Lou Ann Herron. Evidently the medical board doesn't consider you a threat to the public as an abortionist until you're convicted of manslaughter.

The clinic where Baby Phoenix was almost killed was owned by abortionist Moshe Hachamovitch, who was implicated in the abortion deaths of Christina GoessweinTanya WilliamsonLuz Rodriguez, and Jammie Garcia.

A - Z was finally closed July 21, 1998, after its lease was revoked by the landlord and a judge ordered the release of records to a grand jury investigating "possible criminal activity," NRL News cites from the Arizona Republic. Hachamovitch reportedly also closed his two other Phoenix-area facilities.

Watch Happy Birthday, Phoenix Doe on YouTube.

Sources: "Infant Injured In Abort Attempt", Associated Press, 1998; "Full-Term Baby Survives Abortion Attempt", National Right to Life News, 1998

June 30, 1998: Slow Death After North Carolina Abortion

 Kendra Paige McLeod, 22-year-old single mother of two, was working as a sales clerk at a grocery store in Clinton, North Carolina. She underwent an abortion at a clinic in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on June 12, 1998. 

She bled heavily after the abortion. The day after her abortion, she sought help at an emergency room. She had fainted three times by the time she got into the emergency room at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. 

Doctors at the hospital transfused Kendra with nine units of blood and performed surgery to try to save her life, to no avail. She died on June 30, at the age of 22. 

Her family lost a lawsuit against the hospital. Documents do not note if the family sued the abortion provider.


  • “Jury says doctor didn’t cause woman’s death,” Fayetteville Observer, Sept. 13, 2001
  • North Carolina Death Indexes, 1908-2004

June 30, 1982: Teen's Death Counted by State as Illegal Abortion


Seventeen-year-old Jennifer E. Suddeth underwent a safe and legal abortion performed by Dr. Franklin Henry "Frank" Robinson Sr. on June 30, 1982.

On the drive home to Cerritos, Jennifer bled heavily, alarming her boyfriend, 20-year-old John Fredzess. 

Fredzess said that he called the clinic repeatedly over the four hours after their return home, but staff would not put the call through to Robinson. One nurse, he said, admonished Fredzess to "be realistic" about how severely Jennifer was bleeding. By that time, Jennifer had bled through two pairs of sweat pants, two blankets, and a towel. At last, the boyfriend said, he was able to contact Robinson at another clinic in La Puente. He said that Robinson insisted that the bleeding was normal and instructed Fredzess to stop calling.

Robinson agreed that Fredzess had repeatedly called the clinic, but denied dismissing Jennifer's symptoms as no cause for concern. He said that he had  first told Fredzess to bring Jennifer back to the clinic, but Fredzess had said he was too tired to make the drive. Robinson said he then told Fredzess to either call 911 or drive Jennifer to the hospital himself. "I was practically pleading," he said. Fredzess, Robinson said, didn't want to go to the hospital or call 911 because then people would find out abortion the abortion. He said that when Fredzess stopped calling, he assumed that Jennifer was at the hospital being tended to. 

When Jennifer went into convulsions, Fredzess said, he called an ambulance. Paramedics arrived at the home to find Jennifer already dead. She had lost at least six quarts of blood. Police interviewed the weeping and hysterical Fredzess, then botched the investigation.  

Sgt. Miriam Travis, who had been called to the scene to investigate, did not collect any evidence, such as Jennifer's clothing, the towels, or the truck seat onto which Jennifer had reportedly bled so heavily. Travis took only four photographs at the death scene because she "ran out of film" and she later lost two of the photographs.

Robinson said he learned about Jennifer's death when four patrol cars and at least ten armed officers arrived at his clinic and he was booked for first-degree murder. He was held without bail for two days before he was finally released.

After posting bail, Robinson told the Los Angeles Time that Jennifer had been "perfectly fine" when she'd left his office. "She came to me for an abortion, and I gave her an abortion. I gave her the best surgical technique I can do... to call that murder is incomprehensible to me."

The charge was reduced to manslaughter. During the second week of the trial, Travis found a box of her mail which had accumulated at her original office after she had relocated to a different room. In that box were phone records from Fredzess's home. He had said that he'd first spoken to Robinson at his La Puente clinic shortly after 2:30 pm. However, phone records showed that the first call to the La Puente office was not placed until 4:39 pm, less than 45 minutes before paramedics pronounced Jennifer dead.

With the evidence more strongly supporting Robinson's version of events, he was acquitted. Nevertheless, the state of California nevertheless counted Jennifer's death as due to illegal abortion.

Robinson has since retired and moved to Tennessee.

Watch "Who is to Blame?" on YouTube.


Thursday, June 29, 2023

June 29, 1987: The Short Life of April's Baby Girl

"April" had an abortion performed by John Roe 462 on February 2, 1987. There were no fetal parts found in the tissue, but staff didn't inform April. 

On May 7, April learned she was 22 1/2 weeks pregnant. She'd been so emotionally traumatized by the abortion procedure, and she considered a late abortion far too risky, so she decided to have her baby. 

Her little girl was delivered by C-section at just over 30 weeks on June 29, 1987, but due to the loss of amniotic fluid caused by the abortion, the baby had chorioamnionitis, hypoplastic lungs, and hyline membrane disease. The baby died the next day. (Hamilton County Ohio Court of Common Pleas Case No. A-8905595)

Watch Delayed Death from Failed Abortion on YouTube.

June 29, 1939: Another Black Woman Dies in Harlem

According to New York death records, 22-year-old Mary Welch died at Harlem Hospital in Manhattan on June 29, 1939. Her cause of death was "acute endomeitritis streptococcic oepticemia, abortion probably induced." This would indicate a likely criminal abortion.

I've been unable to find any news coverage about Mary's death, perhaps because Mary was Black, and thus during that time considered less worthy of news coverage.

June 29, 1988: She Never Even Made it to the Hospital

Dawn Mendoza, a 28-year-old mother of two, underwent an abortion at the hands of Edward Rubin at Women's Medical Pavilion in Dobbs Ferry, New York, on June 29, 1988.

Her brother, who had accompanied her, was instructed to wait in a grassy park across the street from the clinic and return at 4 pm to take her home. When he returned the staff again told him to come back later. When he returned at 5:30 they told him that Dawn was dead.

Rubin had performed a D&C abortion on Dawn, who then started screaming and gasping for breath. Staff tried unsuccessfully to revive her, but she died without ever being transferred to a hospital.

The medical examiner determined that she had died from amniotic fluid embolism, as evidenced by particles of placenta and amniotic fluid in her lungs.

Watch "Brother Returns to Clinic to Find Sister Dead" on YouTube.

Sources: Autopsy report #88-1488; and New York Post, July 4, 1989

June 29, 1906: Midwife's Fatal Work in Chicago

 Mrs. Johanna Faulner, a 40-year-old German immigrant, died June 29, 1906, at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Chicago, from complications of an abortion performed on June 24. Midwife Emily Redeniske was arrested in the death.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

June 28, 1900: Midwife or Nurse in Chicago

According to the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database, on June 28, 1900, a woman only identified as "Mrs. Andre Jorgenson" died on the scene from an illegal abortion.

Mrs. Anna Pihlgren, whose occupation is listed as nurse or midwife, was arrested and held by the Coroner's Jury. A man identified as Andre Pihlgren in the source, but who was probably the dead woman's husband, was held as an accessory.

Note, please, that with 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. 

June 28, 1946: Immigrant Dies at Harlem Hospital

 According to the New York Index of Death Certificates, 17-year-old Alvena Clarke, a student, died at Harlem Hospital in Manhattan on June 28, 1946. Alvena, an immigrant from Jamaica, suffered a perforated uterus during an abortion and subsequently died of septicemia.

I've been unable to find newspaper coverage of Alvena's death. This might be because she was a young Black woman so her death was not considered important enough to cover in the newspaper. It might be because her abortion was performed legally due to some health problem she had. The fact that the abortion was not identified as criminal in the death records underscores this possibility.

Watch "Scant Information on 1946 Abortion Death" on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

June 27, 1934: Boon to Young Men, Death to Young Women

A bald, middle-aged white man wearing round, black-rimmed eyeglasses
Dr. Guy Brewer

Dr. Guy E. Brewer, at age 55, was a philanthropist and leading citizen in Graber, Oklahoma. 

Brewer was a quiet, small-town doctor, immensely popular for his benevolence in putting local young men through college. He even provided a home for them to live in.

Hermione Fowler, a 20-year-old coed studying science and literature at the Oklahoma A&M University, died at her Red Oak, Oklahoma home on June 27, 1934, nine days after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Brewer. 

Hermione was one of six women to die after abortions perpetrated by Brewer.

The first charge filed against Brewer was for the death of Mrs. Doris Jones, a 20-year-old mother of two, who had died on April 11, 1935. Ruby Ford had died on April 1, 1934, prior even to Hermione's death. Wanda Lee Gray, age 20, Myrtle Rose, age 21, and Elizabeth Shaw, age 23, evidently died in early June of 1935.

Hermione Fowler
Brewer entered guilty pleas and sentenced to six concurrent four-year sentences. 

So beloved was Brewer that one victim's husband was fired from his job in retaliation for reporting Brewer to the police.

Brewer died on July 13, 1952, with his crimes evidently forgotten by everyone except his victims' families. His headstone reads "Dedicated by Doc's Boys."

Watch "Boon to Young Men, Death to Young Women" on YouTube.


Monday, June 26, 2023

July 26, 1888: Death at a Maternity Hospital

Death and Deception

On July 26, 1888, 16-year-old Annie Dorris* died at Dr. Louisa Hagenow's "maternity hospital" in San Francisco. She was buried the following day based on a death certificate filed by Dr. Xavier Dodel, who claimed that he'd been called to tend to her at her home for chills and fever and had transferred her to Hagenow's care about two days before her death, when his treatment was not successful. 

Annie was buried on July 28, but suspicious were raised. On August 19, Annie's body exhumed for autopsy. Annie's uterus had been punctured in three places, and "all contiguous organs showed traces of a violent inflammation, which had produced peritonitis and subsequent death. She had, in short, died from a botched abortion. 

The first witness in the inquest was Dr. V. P. Buckley, one of the physicians who performed the autopsy. He noted that Annie's uterus had three puncture wounds caused by a sharp instrument. Under questioning he admitted that one such wound might be self-induced, but that a woman could not inflict three such wounds on herself. He was shown an instrument, described in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle as "a wicked-looking affair" that had been seized in the search of Hagenow's premises. 

Dr. D. W. Montgomery testified next and described the wounds in greater detail, noting that the dark color indicted congestion and showed that they had been inflicted before death. He believed that such injuries and the resulting infection would be surely fatal in about 24 hours.

Annie's bother, Louis, testified that Annie had always been sickly. She had been ailing intermittently since January. He said that he came home from work one night in July to find Annie very sick and asking for a doctor. "We had read Mrs. Hagenow's advertisement in the papers, and talked about getting her, as she might be pretty smart and was a German woman. Dr. Dodel and Mrs. Hagenow were called in. They made an examination and said she had inflammation of the bowels, and ought to be taken to the hospital."

Louis said that he got a carriage that took his sister, their mother, and Hagenow to the hospital.

The following day he went to see Annie. She told him that she had been very ill but was feeling better. He stayed with her a short time, kissed her goodbye, then went home. He never saw her alive again.

Hagenow's sister, Mrs. Sophia Siebert, testified next. The San Francisco Chronicle described her as "a stout, fat German woman, and a full sister to Mrs. Hagenow. She is the unfortunate one who is given to too much talking, and is the person who told Mrs. Anna Hickert of 1620 Howard street that Mrs. Hagenow's place was a murderers' hole and a robbers' nest." Speaking entirely in her native German, she explained that she lived with her daughter in the city. She worked at her sister's "maternity home." She was busy with her work the night Annie arrived with Hagenow and Mrs. Dorris. Siebert said that she'd only seen Annie alive once, when she'd brought her some watermelon. After the girl died, Siebert said, she had washed and dressed her body for the funeral in the presence of some other people.

Siebert described the gossip in the neighborhood after Annie's death. She limited her own part in the gossip as talking about a second young lady who had died at Hagenow's facility, and an old man who had died there as well. 

Two employees of undertaker Theodore Diereks testified. One, John Driscill, said that he had completed the death certificate but omitted the place of death because he hadn't known where Annie had died. He sent somebody to fetch Dodel, who came to the undertaking establishment and signed the document.

However, Diereks's own testimony differs from that of his employee. He said that he took the death certificate to Hagenow's maternity home when he went to pick up the body. He completed the death certificate there then took it to Dodel to be signed. The one that his employees testified about, he said was not the original. He'd left the original, he said, with Dodel. He said that he'd been brought in by Annie's parents, who were assuming all expenses. Annie's parents, however, denied having been the ones who contacted Diereks.

Hagenow and Dodel were promptly suspected and arrested. A reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Hagenow in her jail cell. "When informed of the result of the autopsy, she became much depressed, and shook her head sadly, with the remark that she couldn't understand it. She was about to volunteer a statement of her case, when Robert Ferral, her counsel, appeared and cautioned her to say nothing about the matter, either to her friends or the reporters. Mrs. Dr. Hagenow thereupon contented herself with saying that 'she could not see how doctors could discern punctures in the womb after nearly a month's burial.' She also said that she was innocent, and would prove it in time, and that Annie Dorris was not tampered with in her home."

Officer John F. Seymour also testified. He had been sent to Dodel's residence to arrest him. Dodel led him to a parlor where his brother and a friend were. Dodel's brother and friend were there. The brother took up running up Howard Street towards Fifth. Seymour arrested Dodel. Officer Seymour said that he'd heard a conversation between Dr. Stanton and Dodel. According to Seymour, Dodel told Stanton that Hagenow had consulted him about treating a fever. He went with Hagenow to a house on Welsh street, where he found a young woman with a high fever. He examined her and removed some clots. He'd transferred her to a hospital where she'd died after three days. He had signed a death certificate blaming the death on peritonitis. Seymour said he'd heard Dodel tell Stanton, "You know, doctor, how I needed the money, and that was why I signed the certificate. I have had a great deal of trouble." 

Officer Dillon testified that Dodel's brother had taken off in order to warn Hagenow about the arrest. He'd found the doctor's brother at Hagenow's establishment when he'd gone there to arrest her. She was taken into custody at 6:00 on the evening of August 25. She was charged with murder in Annie's death as well as with suborning perjury. Hagenow denied the abortion and the witness tampering, telling a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, "Those witnesses lied when they swore that I endeavored to get them to give false testimony. The fact is that came to me after 11 o'clock at night and begged me on their knees to swear to the same story as themselves, and I refused. I know who performed the operation on the girl, but it was not me."

Coroner Stanton testified that he'd spoken with Dodel on the day of his arrest. Dodel admitted to having treated a girl named Dorreis. He said that he'd been called in by Hagenow and had removed something from the patient's body. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Dr. Stanton then related the circumstances connected with the discovery of the crime, of how he worked up the case and of the finding of the instruments at Mrs. Hagenow's, and the matter was then left with the jury." 

On behalf of Dodel, his attorney, Mr. Louderback, said that the charges against Dodel should be dismissed because the only evidence is that he had been called in to attend to Annie after a "butcher" had injured her prior to her removal to Hagenow's hospital.

Who Was Responsible

Annie had been engaged to young machinist named Matthew Cox who drowned in the San Francisco Bay the Christmas after Annie's death. She had been buried wearing a gold-washed ring engraved "Presented by M. C. to A. D." According to the San Francisco Daily Examiner, "The two were a great deal together, but the girl's parents declare that they would never think of associating young Cox with their daughter's downfall and death."

Until about three months before her death, Annie had worked for the Gutmann family on Clara Street, near Fifth. Mrs. Guttman told the Daily Examiner, "There were no young men lived in the house except my son. The girl was, while in the house, well behaved, and neither wilder nor more quiet than other servant girls. She frequently went to balls and parties and returned when she pleased. She had a key of her own and my family consequently never knew what time of night she came in."

The Inquest

Hagenow ad, SF Chronicle, May 15, 1888
During the coroner's inquest, Annie's mother, Augusta, testified that on New Year's Day, Annie had come to her, "Troubled with what she thought was some female disease." Some time in late July Augusta had heard that Hagenow was skilled in treating. She said that she had read in a German newspaper that “Mrs. Hagenow's hospital on Twelfth street was a good place,” so she took Annie there. 

“Mrs. Hagenow said that she would cure the girl for $30 and took her into a private room to examine her.” After Annie emerged, Hagenow charged her mother an additional $10, saying that she had damaged an instrument due to Anna's inability to lie still.

Three days later, Annie took to her bed, complaining of pains in her legs and back. According to Annie's father, Frederick, Hagenow came to the house to check on Annie. Hagenow took the girl into a side room, from which Frederick heard Annie cry out. Hagenow emerged and said that a "man doctor" had to be called in due to inflammation of the bowels and high fever. Hagenow left and returned with Dr. Dodel. The two of them went into the room with Annie, and again Frederick heard his daughter cry out. Dodel emerged from the room with bloody hands.

Frederick didn't seem to be a particularly concerned or attentive father, judging by this exchange in the Examiner:

Reporter: Did you know what was the matter with her?

Frederick: No.

Reporter: Do you know now?

Frederick: My son was reading something about it out of the paper but I didn't pay much attention.

Reporter: (shares results of autopsy)

Frederick: Well, sir, I must say I'm surprised. I never thought the girl was in that way.

Upon his recommendation, Annie was removed to the "maternity home." Hagenow's sister, Sophia Siebert, worked at the establishment. She told a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle that she had seen Annie arrive in a carriage, accompanied by her mother and a young man.

Annie died at the maternity home on the third day.

Dodel's Statement

Dodel told the Daily Examiner, "At Mrs. Hagenow's request. on July 24th I went to see a girl at 21 1/2 Welsh Street. I found her suffering from peritonitis, and taxed her for having undergone a criminal operation. She denied it, but said she had had a miscarriage. As she could not be well attended to there, she was moved to Mrs. Hagenow's place, where she died on the 26th. I thought there would be trouble about the case, and I refused to sign the death certificate until my fee was paid. On July 29th the girl's mother paid me $50, and I went down to Dierks' undertaking rooms, where the body had been taken, and signed the death certificate."

When asked why he hadn't reported Annie's death to the coroner, Dodel reportedly shrugged and said that he'd only suspected an abortion and hadn't been certain.

Hagenow's Character

Louisa "Lucy" Hagenow
As Augusta testified about her daughter's death, she “cried pitifully.” After being given time to regain her composure, Augusta, with her husband by her side, was asked about her encounter with Hagenow at the coroner's office. Augusta said that Hagenow told her to denied ever meeting her, or she (Hagenow) would end up doing 25 or 30 years at San Quentin. The coroner had chased Hagenow from the room.

Augusta said that Hagenow's sister, Mrs. Sophia Seibert, told her that she'd taken her daughter to a “hell hole” and that “other persons had been murdered there.” 

Anna Hickert, who operated a bakery, said that she relayed to Hagenow that Seibert had told her that Hagenow ran “a murderous den,” but Hagenow had told Hickert not to relay this because her Seibert would deny having ever said any such thing. 

The characterization of Hagenow's establishment seems legit. Hagenow had been implicated in the abortion death of Abbia Richards earlier that month, and of Louise Derchow in 1885. Emma Dep died under mysterious circumstances at Hagenow's maternity home in August of 1888.

Something Fishy

Hagenow reportedly nearly fainted when Judge Hornblower set Hagenow's bail at a total of $25,000. (Over $800,000 in 2023)

Hagenow eventually made bail, but the San Francisco Chronicle noted, “The bond itself is a queer one. Although the signers qualify in the aggregate for $20,000 there is more than the faint suspicion afloat that it is a bond of straw.” Pretty fishy – perhaps in one case even fictitious – characters were putting their signatures on it. Jasper Karnary, a man that Judge Lawler had scolded for signing too many bonds, signed for $6,000 in the form the value of his his Natoma Street house. However, Karnary's name and address were not noted in the city directory. The same situation held with George M Williams, supposedly of Tehama Street, who contributed $4,000 in the form of his house. J. Pelier, who claimed to own the Evergreen Vineyard in Sonoma County, signed for $10,000 against the value of the vineyard.

News coverage doesn't indicate how Hagenow came up with the additional $5,000 bond for the subornation of perjury charge, but evidently she managed.

Dodel's bail was set at $20,000, evidently since he did not have the additional charge of suborning perjury.

“When Mrs. Hagenow was released she ran to Dr. Dodel's cell and held a short conversation with him. It is quite probable that he will soon be out on bond if [Judge] Hornblower can be persuaded to accept the same kind of sureties for him as he did for his female companion." Hagenow stuck to her story that Annie had been deathly ill before she'd even been called in.

Freed to Kill Again

Hagenow relocated to Chicago, a city more tolerant of abortion quackery, and began piling up dead bodies there as well, this time as Louise rather than Louisa. She was implicated in numerous abortion deaths there, including:

Hagenow was sentenced to prison for Annie's death. Upon release  in 1924 she began using the name Lucy Hagenow and made up for lost time by piling up more corpses:


Though she was sentenced to prison for Mary Moorehead's death, when Hagenow appealed the Supreme Court of Illinois ordered a new trial in 1929. The judge, noting that there was no new evidence, dismissed the case, telling Hagenow, "You had better make your peace with God, Lucy Hagenow. I do not think your months on earth are many."

Hagenow, the Associated Press noted, was nearly deaf and "may not have heard. She muttered something, and shambled laboriously from the room."

Deaths of her patients must have been a common occurrence, since undertaker W. J. Freckleton, sent by one husband to collect the body of his wife for burial, testified that he had complained to Hagenow how difficult it was to get the body down the narrow staircase; Hagenow had replied that her usual undertaker never had any trouble getting bodies out.

Clearly, laws against abortion can only protect women if the local authorities care enough to enforce them.

As near as I can determine, Hagenow died September 26, 1933, in Norwood Park, Cook County, Illinois. Her occupation on her death record was given as "midwife."

*Annie's name is also spelled Dories, Dorreis, Doreis, or other variants in different sources.


June 26, 1994: Bleeding Out by the Side of the Road

Pamela Jean Colson, age 31, was 12 weeks pregnant when friends drive her to Women's Medical Services in Pensacola, Florida, for a safe and legal abortion on Saturday, June 25, 1994. The abortion was performed by Dr. William Philip Keene.

Pamela bled heavily during the drive home. According to her friends, Pamela began having trouble breathing when they were about halfway home to Port St. Joe. She became unresponsive at around 7:30 p.m., so they pulled into the parking lot of Scottish Inn in Panama City. The hotel's manager said that two passers-by did CPR while Pamela's friends called for an ambulance. Somebody else attempted to wave down traffic to seek additional help.

When medics arrived they found Pamela in full cardiac and respiratory arrest. They took over her care and transported her to Bay Medical Center. Surgeons there performed an emergency hysterectomy in a vain attempt to save Pamela's life. She died shortly after midnight the following day.

Her autopsy showed: bloodstained fluid in chest and peritoneal space, and "extensive hematoma formation in the pelvic area with the peritoneum denuded from the left gutter area caudually." The surgeon who performed an emergency hysterectomy, trying to save Pamela's life, had removed her uterus at the site of the laceration "so that the laceration was a portion of the incision made to remove the uterus." Her uterus showed extensive hemorrhage and blood clots. Her uterine artery was also injured. Several of Pamela's ribs were fractured, apparently during attempts to resuscitate her; this is common in even properly performed CPR.

The cause of death was given as "irreversible shock from blood loss due to a perforated uterus occurring at the time of an elective abortion." William Keene was tentatively identified as having performed the abortion.

Pamela's fatal abortion was performed at the clinic where abortionist David Gun was shot dead.

After the investigation into Pamela's death, Keene was fired from Sarasota Women's Health Center, the other Florida clinic where he worked. The director of Women's Medical Service, where Pamela's fatal abortion was performed, on the other hand, pooh-poohed the idea of dismissing Keene. "Of course he's allowed to perform abortions. That's a ridiculous question. Complications occur all the time," clinic director Sandy Sheldon told the Tuscaloosa News. She insisted that Pamela had seemed fine, talking and eating, before being discharged from the clinic.

She also showed disdain for the press for covering Pamela's death, telling the Tampa Bay Times, "Patients die all the time, whether it's a gall bladder operation or a hernia or a tonsillectomy, and nobody cares. It's not front-page news. ..... Why is this different? We did everything we were supposed to do." It was evidently lost on her that even the notoriously abortion-friendly Centers for Disease Control long since stated that there was never any legitimate reason for an abortion patient to bleed to death. ("Fatal hemorrhage from legal abortion in the United States," Surgical Gynecology and Obstetrics, November, 1983) David Grimes, et. al., clearly said:

Deaths from hemorrhage associated with legal induced abortion should not occur. Yet hemorrhage was the third most frequent cause of death from legal abortion in the United States between 1972 and 1979.  .... Twenty-four women died from hemorrhage after legal abortion in the United States from 1972 to 1979.... Deaths from hemorrhage can be eliminated by preventing uterine trauma during abortion and by rapidly diagnosing and treating hemorrhage if it occurs.

Pamela's family didn't find out about her death until the following Tuesday because they were traveling at the time. Pamela's parents sued the clinic on behalf of themselves and Pamela's two motherless young children, but the case was dismissed because of the plaintiff attorney's failure to submit an investigation in a timely manner.

Watch "No Excuse But Plenty of Excuses" on YouTube.


Sunday, June 25, 2023

June 25, 1911: Doctor Free to Kill Again

 On June 25, 1911, 20-year-old Mrs. Anna Mueller died from a criminal abortion performed by Dr. George Lotz. Lotz was arrested July 5. He was indicted for felony murder.

Leslie Reagan, in her book "When Abortion Was a Crime," indicates that he was expelled from the Chicago Medical Society after admitting guilt in Anna's death, but there is no record that he served time for the crime. In fact, he was free and in Danville, Illinois in 1917, when he perpetrated a fatal attempted abortion on Matilda Tidrick.

Anna's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Watch "Another Doctor Free to Kill Again" on YouTube.

Source: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

Saturday, June 24, 2023

June 24, 1882: Incest and Abortion in Michigan

On June 10, 1882, a wealthy 62-year-old farmer named James T. Phillips brought his daughter, 20-year-old Ruth Phillips, from their home to another farm near DeSoto, Wisconsin, where his two older daughters lived.

Ruth took violently ill. On June 13, she delivered stillborn twins. 

A few days later she made a shocking deathbed statement to her sisters: she said that their father was the father of the twins, and that he had used instruments on her to cause the abortion that killed the twins and was soon to take her own life.

Ruth died on June 24, and was buried on the 26th. 

"After the death and burial," says the July 26, 1882 Vernon County Censor, "suspicion of foul play having been around in the neighborhood, Phillips was arrested, the body disinterred, and a post mortem examination had by Dr. Gott."

The autopsy showed that Ruth had died from uterine inflammation, though there were no marks of instrumentation that the doctor could find.

Phillips. a native of Wales, was arrested and jailed pending $1,400 bail (a little over $11,000 in 2022).  "There is much excitement in the community where Phillips lives, and open threats of lynching in case he secures bail."

"The crimes is the most terrible one that can be conceived, and if Phillips is proven guilty, no punishment that the law provides for such offenses can prove adequate."

Phillips had been tried fifteen years earlier for committing incest against another of his daughters, but was acquitted in that case.

Lynching turned out to be unnecessary. Phillips hanged himself in his jail cell on August 5, 1882. This leads me to believe that the abortion had really taken place, since a mere incest case hadn't been enough to lead him to suicide 15 years or so earlier.

Watch "Jailhouse Suicide" on YouTube.


June 24, 1971: First Legal Abortion Death in Rockland County New York

Edith Clark, age 29, traveled from her home in Newark, New Jersey to the Sparkhill, New York office of Dr. Robert Livingston to avail herself of the new law, for a first-trimester abortion on June 24, 1971.

Shortly after she was given an injection of Innovar for anesthesia, Edith went into cardiac arrest, and attempts to revive her failed. She left behind three children.

Edith was the first woman to die in New York's Rockland County from a newly legalized abortion. The second, 18-year-old Pamela Modugno, died in May of 1972 after an abortion in one of the many freestanding abortion facilities that opened immediately after New York decided to permit outpatient abortion-on-demand up to 24 weeks.

Watch A Dubious Honor on YouTube.

Source: "18-year-old student dies during abortion," White Plains Journal-News, May 18, 1972

June 24, 1929: Two Doctors Arrested

On June 24, 1929, 19-year-old homemaker Winifred Mary Garver of South Bend, Indiana, underwent an abortion at the Chicago office of Dr. Anna Schultz, aka Rollins. Schultz was assisted by Dr. James White. Winifred died on June 27 at Chicago's Woodlawn Hospital. Winifred was white; both her abortionist and the assistant were Black. 

On June 27, both physicians were held by the coroner. Schultz was indicted for felony murder by a grand jury on October 6, 1930 and released on $10,000 bond. White was released on $5,000 bond. I've been unable to determine the outcome of the case.

Source: "Two Physicians Held," Palladium Item, June 27, 1929

Friday, June 23, 2023

June 23, 1899: Widow Dies After Doctor Does Abortion

Cora A. Burke, age 20, lived with her mother and 4-year-old son and her parents in Idaho. She'd been widowed about five months and had recently become engaged to marry.

Dr. R. J. Alcorn
In May of 1899, Cora told Mrs. Martha Johnson that she was about six weeks pregnant and wanted to find a good doctor to perform an abortion. Mrs. Johnson introduced Cora to Dr. Robert J. "R. J." Alcorn who had been practicing medicine in Kootenai County, Idaho, for a short time. Dr. Alcorn was living in the boarding house Mrs. Johnson operated with Mr. E.J. Abbey.

Cora went to Dr. Alcorn's room about two days after they were introduced. Mr. Abbey listened from an adjoining room, and heard Cora say that the instrument Dr. Alcorn was using was hurting her.

On the night of Tuesday, June 21, Dr. Alcorn asked Mr. T.J. Rundell to help him carry a table into his office, which was at the back of a drug store in the town of Harrison. Rundell's curiosity was piqued, and he asked Alcorn if he was going to "dissect a stiff." Alcorn told him no, he was going to perform an operation on somebody from across the river.

Rundell decided to snoop, so he returned at 10:00 PM and saw Cora go through the drug store into Alcorn's office. Rundell then slipped around to the back of the building, where he could peer into Alcorn's office around an ill-hung window blind. The following is what Rundell says he observed.

Alcorn stood beside the chair where Cora was sitting, supporting her head with one hand. He had a small vial containing a dark liquid, and was holding a cloth to Cora's face. Cora seemed to fall into a deep sleep, whereupon Alcorn picked her up and lay her on the table.

Alcorn removed Cora's undergarments and positioned her for the surgery. He examined her internally, inserted a speculum, then inserted a probe about a foot long into her body, causing a flow of blood which he blotted up with a cloth. From time to time, Alcorn applied the cloth to Cora's face again. The entire procedure took about an hour and a half.

Cora was awakened, and Alcorn helped her to set her clothing to rights and sent her on her way.

At about 4 PM the next day, Alcorn was called to tend to Cora, who was in a lot of pain. He examined her and found her uterus to be inflamed and bleeding. He prescribed ergot, to be given one-half teaspoon each half-hour for three doses, then every hour afterward for 18 hours. Cora's mother asked Alcorn about her daughter's condition. Alcorn told her, "She caught a bad cold. She does not flow enough when she has her monthlies. I will give her something to make her flow."

At about 6:00 PM on the 21st, William Ketchum called Alcorn to visit Mrs. Ketchum, but Alcorn told him, "Well, I don't know. I am expecting a miscarriage here any minute. I can go over there, and come back, if it does not make any difference to them." So he went to Ketchum's home to attend to his wife.

Over the ensuing days, Alcorn visited Cora five times, the last time about two hours before she died on Friday afternoon, June 23. Her feet and hands were cold, her fingers blue, her lips purple. Alcorn told Cora's mother that she was doing well and would be up soon. Alcorn immediately took a train to Washington state, returning about 10:00 on the following Sunday morning. The next day he again left the state, this time going to Montana, where he was arrested and returned to Kootenai county.

While Cora had been ill, she passed a lot of blood and clots. Mrs. Knight, who visited Cora during her illness, testified, "I helped dress her after she was dead. Her clothing and bedclothing were saturated with blood. A quilt was doubled up under her four thicknesses, and it was clear through the quilt. It was clots of blood. I observed an odor in connection with it. There was too great a quantity to have come from the ordinary menstruation. Much greater in quantity."

Kootenai County Sherriff F. H. Bradbury testified about the conversation he'd had with Alcorn on the train bringing him back to face justice. "He told me that he never had anything to do with this girl, Cora Burke; that he began in the daytime an operation on a man for stricture, and did not complete it; and that he took him in the back room of the drug store and completed the operation in the evening. He gave me this statement after I had warned him not to make any statement to me."

Alcorn testified on is own behalf, saying that Cora had attempted to do an abortion on herself with "a hair dart," which had punctured the wall of her uterus and broken off, leaving about 1 1/2 inches. Alcorn said that he'd used a speculum and piston syringe to remove the foreign body from Cora's uterus.

The physicians called as expert witnesses on the case all agreed that Cora died of septicemia or blood poisoning. They also agreed that ergot itself would be enough to cause an abortion.

Alcorn's defense also raised the possibility that Cora hadn't actually been pregnant, but the court concluded that Cora had believed herself to be pregnant, had sought an abortion, and had undergone a procedure intended to cause an abortion, which was enough to demonstrate the intent of the defendant to kill a fetus, especially in the light of Alcorn's statement that he was expecting a patient to miscarry.

Alcorn was charged with murder. His first trial ended with a hung jury. The second jury found him guilty of manslaughter. The judge sentenced Alcorn to seven years in the penitentiary. Alcorn appealed, partially on the grounds that since the indictment did not specifically say that the abortion took place in 1899, the injury was not proven to have taken place less than a year and a day prior to the death.

Watch "Shouldn't 'All Surgery Have Risks' Apply?" at YouTube.


Thursday, June 22, 2023

June 22, 1951: Fatal Abortion Blamed on Nurse

At 11:45 am on June 22, 1951, 18-year-old Minnie Bell Stewart was pronounced dead on arrival at Columbia Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina. Minnie had worked as a domestic servant.

Her cause of death was determined to be generalized peritonitis due to a criminal abortion. It was ruled a homicide.

A practical nurse was held by police in the case.

Both Minnie and the nurse were Black women.

Watch "Was Scant Reporting Due to Race?" on YouTube.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

June 21, 1985: Teen Dies After Languishing in Coma

Seventeen-year-old Debra Ann Lozinski had languished for two months in a coma, hospitalized after an abortion at Medical Care Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

On June 21, 1985, Debra's parents filed suit against Dr. Scheininger, Dr. Sinha, and other staff for failing to properly screen and examine Debra prior to her abortion. They also alleged that staff failed to properly monitor their daughter's vital signs during the abortion, failing to quickly detect and properly treat respiratory difficulty. As a result, Debra suffered the brain damage that had caused her coma.

Shortly after midnight on June 22, a hospital staffer checked on Debra and found her dead; she evidently had died shortly before midnight.

See the memorial page Debra's friends put in her high school year book here.

Watch "Did Anybody Monitor Debra?" on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

June 20, 1974: Abortion Rights Hero Kills Teen

Dr. Milan Vuitch

Dr. Milan Vuitch was a hero among abortion advocates. He had deliberately been arrested performing criminal abortions so that he could challenge the Washington, DC abortion law, and he succeeded in changing the way the law was enforced, effectively nullifying it.

On June 15, 1974, seventeen-year-old Wilma Harris of West Virginia went to Vuitch's Laurel Clinic for a safe and abortion. Five days later, on June 20, she was dead. During interrogatories, Vuitch said that anesthesiologist Strahil Nacev described Wilma as "so quiet" during the abortion. Although he had begun a vacuum abortion, Vuitch said that the fetus had been too big to pass through the suction tube. He said he used instruments to remove the remaining fetal parts.

Although the abortion was done at around 2:00 PM, Vuitch didn't transfer Wilma to a properly equipped hospital until after midnight. Wilma's family sued, claiming that Vuitch and his staff had allowed Wilma to lapse into a coma and lie unattended for 12 hours before transferring her to the hospital. The suit also claimed that Vuitch and his staff falsified records to cover their tracks. The family won a judgment on December 23, 1976, but the settlement was sealed by court order.

Georgianna English also died after an abortion by Vuitch. WDVM-TV won a Peabody Award for their expose of Vuitch after her death.

Vuitch isn't the only abortionist who kept his nose clean as a criminal abortionist, only to kill two patients after legalization. Jesse Ketchum managed to kill Margaret Smith and Carole Schaner in a four-month period after New York put out a welcome mat for carpetbagging abortionists in 1970. Benjamin Munson of South Dakota killed Linda Padfield and Yvonne Mesteth.

Watch "Permission to Take Lethal Risks" on YouTube.

Monday, June 19, 2023

June 19, 1984: Teen Daughter Found Dead on the Floor

After awakening from a nap on June 19, 1984, 14-year-old "Gwen Newhart's"* mother found her dead on the bathroom floor.

Dr. E. Wyman Garrett
Just five days before, Gwen had undergone a second-trimester abortion performed by 46-year-old Dr. E. Wyman Garrett** in Newark, New Jersey. She was 22 weeks pregnant.

At home after her abortion, Gwen began vomiting and suffered from abdominal pain and a high fever. Her mother called Garrett, who told her that the symptoms were normal and prescribed antibiotics. She seemed to improve briefly, but took a turn for the worse on June 18.

Gwen's mother called the next morning and Garrett said to bring Gwen in to the office. Mrs. Newhart took a nap and awoke to find her daughter dead on the bathroom floor.

The massive infection that was causing her symptoms killed her.

An autopsy found that Gwen's uterus had been punctured, and her abdomen was full of pus and adhesions.

When the New Jersey medical board investigated Dr. Garrett, they noted that he had illegally altered Gwen's medical records. He had also performed Gwen's abortion in violation of state regulations, since New Jersey required that abortions past the first trimester be performed in a hospital.

They noted other, non-fatal injuries including:

  • A 16-year-old girl who had to be hospitalized with a 1-inch tear in her uterus and a pelvic infection from a second-trimester abortion Garrett performed in his office rather than a hospital
  • A baby boy born alive at University Hospital in Newark after Garrett had initiated a saline abortion; the baby died 15 weeks later.
  • A baby girl who suffered birth injuries leaving her severely brain damaged after Garrett failed to diagnose intrauterine growth retardation
  • A woman who was discharged from the clinic with a fetal head left in her uterus

Garrett argued that he was suffering from ''burnout syndrome,'' caused by performing more than 2,600 second-trimester abortions between 1982 and 1986. He asserted, "If any man has this much work, he's going to have complications." He pleaded no-contest in the state case.

In 1986 the board concluded that Garrett was guilty of gross negligence, abandonment of patients, and professional misconduct. He failed to recognize and treat complications in a timely manner, they found. banned Garrett from performing abortions or other outpatient surgery. In 1987 they revoked his license. They cited a total of 26 abortions performed in a "grossly improper" manner. As of 1994 he still owed over $175,000 in fines and court costs from the medical board suspension proceedings.

Garrett had other unsavory run-ins with society. In 1971, during a teacher strike, Garrett (who was then a school board member) told a school trustee "We know where you live. We're going to get you." He then turned to a reporter who was taking notes and said, "You'll have to give me your notebook or you won't get out of this building alive." Garrett then, according to the reporter, summoned two men to beat the reporter up and take his notebook and wallet. Two weeks into the trial Garrett plea-bargained down to interfering with people at a public meeting and paid $2,000 in fines and costs. 

In 1983 he started refusing to do second-trimester abortions at University Hospital in Newark because they would no longer pay him $250 to $300 per abortion instead of the Medicaid physician fee of $79. (In 2022 dollars, he had been getting $734 - $880 per abortion when the Medicaid fee was $232.) Garrett publicly said that since the hospital was reimbursed $1,334 ($3,915 in 2022 dollars) per abortion and he performed 851 abortion there in the previous year, he'd brought the hospital more than $1.2 million in Medicaid dollars (about $3.5 in 2022 dollars). Garrett argued that he was entitled to more than $79 because his usual abortion fee was from $400 to $900 ($1,174 - $2,641 in 2022 dollars). 

In 1986 a whistleblower claimed that she discovered that Garret was preparing post-operative reports prior to surgery he was performing at University Hospital.

*Source failed to redact name in original, but out of privacy respect I use a pseudonym. 

** "John Roe 268" in Lime 5

Watch "Stopped Before He Could Kill Another Patient" on YouTube.