Wednesday, October 11, 2023

October 11, 1936: An Infamous Montana Abortionist

Portrait of abortionist Gertrude Pitkanen
Gertrude Pitkanen
The mantra among abortion-rights organizations is that before legalization, the world of abortion was a world of rusty coat hangers and untrained quacks. Frankly, it's an insult to the abortion-minded women of yesteryear to assume that they were all so mentally unhinged or utterly mindless. The vast majority sought out professionals of the same caliber they'd go to for any other cause. 

On October 11, 1936, 18-year-old Margie Fraser died in a hospital in her hometown of Helena, Montana from complications of a botched abortion she had sought from Gertrude Pitkanen (pictured), who had completed nurse's training at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and became one of the first surgical nurses at St. James Community Hospital, Butte, Montana. There, she assisted her husband, Dr. Gustavus Pitkanen. Dr. Pitkanen was an abortionist until he was jailed for sedition in 1917, whereupon Gertrude, trained by him and well-versed in surgical procedures, took over the locally-tolerated abortion business.

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