Sunday, March 26, 2017

Septic Abortion in New Jersey, 1986

Gail Wright was 29 years old when she underwent a legal abortion. She was 20 weeks pregnant.  After her abortion, she developed sepsis.  She died of adult respiratory distress syndrome on March 26, 1986, in Maplewood, Essex County, New Jersey, leaving behind a husband.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

From a Risky Legal Procedure to Chicago Criminal Abortionists

Saline Abortion Proves Fatal, as Warned

Lynn McNair, age 24, was 23 weeks pregnant when she went to Jewish Memorial Hospital in New York for an abortion in March of 1979. Her doctor, Edward Rubin, chose the saline abortion method, in which amniotic fluid is removed with a large syringe and then replaced with a sterile salt solution strong enough to be toxic. Because of risks to the mother, Japan, Sweden, and the Soviet Union all banned the saline abortion method before abortion was even legalized in the United States.

The first injection of saline failed to kill the fetus, so Rubin injected a second dose of saline. Lynn went into convulsions and slipped into a coma. Amniotic fluid, tainted with the strong salt solution, got into her blood stream and damaged her lungs. She died on March 23, leaving two children motherless.

Rubin continued to perform abortions, performing a fatal abortion on 28-year-old Dawn Mendoza at Women's Medical Pavilion in Dobbs Ferry, NY in 1988. Dawn also died from getting abortion material in her lungs, though in her case the abortion was done by dismembering the 22-week fetus, allowing both amniotic fluid and bits of the placenta to travel to the mother's lungs.

An Unknown Chicago Abortion Perpetrator

On March 23, 1917, 19-year-old Mary Conners died at Chicago's County Hospital, refusing to name the abortionist who had fatally injured her that day.

First in a String of Deaths Attributed to Dr. Achtenberg of Chicago

In March of 1907, Dora Swan, the 24-year-old wife of a railroad worker, was living with her mother in Chicago. On March 16, Dora underwent an abortion, reportedly at the hands of Louise Achtenberg. Achtenberg came to the home several times to care for Dora, but her condition was not improving.

Dora's family called the family physician, Dr. C. S. Friend. He had her admitted to Englewood Union Hospital in Chicago to be treated. Dora died from post-abortion infection on March 23.

Actenberg, whose profession is listed as doctor, midwife, or unlisted at the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database, was held responsible by the coroner, but there is no record that charges were filed.

Achtenberg, most likely misidentified as a midwife due to her obstetric work, went on to be implicated in the 1909 abortion deaths of Stella Kelly and Florence Wright. She was also implicated in the 1921 abortion death of Violet McCormick. Later, in 1924, it was Dr. Louise Achtenberg who was held responsible for the death of Madelyn Anderson. In spite of all of these deaths, I can find no record that Achtenberg was ever incarcerated.

Was the Deadly Mrs. Heinle a Doctor or a Midwife?

On March 23, 1905, Mrs. Ida Pomering, a 30-year-old German immigrant, died in Chicago from an abortion performed earlier that day. Apollonia Heinle was held by the coroner's jury for Ida's death.

Heinle was identified in a death record as a doctor, but is elsewhere identified as a midwife. This does not rule out her being a doctor, since female obstetricians were, at that time, typically called midwives.

Heinle suffered no long-term ill effects from Ida's death. She was still a practicing midwife-abortionist in 1909, when the Illinois State's Attorney declared "war on midwives" as an approach to stamping out abortion in the state. Doctors, however, were also quite commonly identified as the guilty parties after abortion deaths in Chicago in that era.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Accidental Poisoning, 1926

Ida Bosen, age 35, died in Chicago March 22, 1926. The mother of six had accidentally poisoned herself while trying to induce an abortion with an abortifacient.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A High Risk Abortion and Four Other Deaths

Lack of Due Diligence

Professional portrait of a middle-aged Black doctor, bald and with a thick moustache. He is wearing a lab coat, tie, and stethescope.
Tyrone Maloy
On March 21, 2008, 23 year old Sherika Mayo went to Summit Medical Associates in Atlanta, Georgia for the elective abortion of her 25 week unborn child. Sherika had sickle cell trait along with low levels of hemoglobin in her blood -- only 7.3 gms when a normal range for an adult woman is between 12 and 16. Abortionist Tyrone Maloy proceeded with the abortion anyway.

While in the recovery room, Sherika went into cardiac arrest and was transferred to Atlanta Medical Center while EMS workers continued CPR. Upon arrival, Sherika had a distended abdomen and vaginal bleeding, so ER workers called for a gynecology consult.

Emergency surgery was performed to remove Sherika's damaged uterus and repair an injured bowel. Malloy holds that her bowel was injured during this surgery, not during the abortion.  After surgery, Sherika showed symptoms of DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, a life-threatening clotting disorder sometimes caused by trauma or infection). She was treated with blood products but died in the I.C.U.

Georgia State Medical Board reviewed the case and determined that abortionist Tyrone Malloy, “failed to conform to minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice.” He failed to follow proper standards of care in the following ways:

1. Sherika's blood count was low; since this was an elective procedure, she should have been provided with a transfusion to bring her blood hemoglobin level up to at least 9 gm.

2. Blood clotting tests should have been performed prior to the abortion.

3. Malloy should have more accurately determined the gestational age of Sherika's pregnancy because the risk of amniotic fluid embolism (which can cause the clotting disorder that ultimately killed Sherika) increases with increased gestational age and additional "intrauterine manipulation."

Malloy was reprimanded. He was ordered to pay a $10,000.00 fine and to take continuing education classes. He is allowed to continue to practice medicine in general and abortions in particular.

A Newlywed Teen

Headshot of a teenage white girl with short, dark hair
Brenda Emerson
Brenda Emerson, age 16, died on March 21, 1959 after an abortion perpetrated in Burbank by practical nurse Ruth Haskins. Brenda's body was found on the lawn of a Burbank hospital. She had died of an overdose of sodium pentothal administered as abortion anesthesia.  She had been married nine months and was six to eight weeks pregnant.

Three Deaths in Chicago

On March 21, 1927, 25-year-old Nancy Dawson died on-site from a criminal abortion performed that day. Dr. J.F. Peck and midwife Christine Sedwig were indicted for felony murder on April 1.
On March 21, 1916, 30-year-old Anna Krauz died at her home on Union Avenue in Chicago from infection caused by a perforated uterus. An abortion had been perpetrated by midwife Anna Vidicas, who was held by the Coroner but acquitted on trial.

On March 21, 1911, 33-year-old homemaker Katherine Kammer died of septic peritonitis at German Hospital in Chicago from an abortion perpetrated by a "midwife" around 5 days earlier.  For reasons not given in the source document, there was never any prosecution for Kate's death.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Early 20th Century Deaths

Professionals in Chicago in the Early 20th Century

On March 20, 1926, 19-year-old Alice Annalora died at the County Hospital in Chicago from complications of an abortion performed that day.  Dr. Wilford Vine was booked for Alice's death, as was her husband, Joseph Annalora. Vine was indicted for felony murder. Ultimately, the coroner was unable to determine the legal status of the abortion that killed Alice, so Dr. Vine and Mr. Annalora were released.

On March 20, 1916, 19-year-old housemaid Bertha Carlson died at South Park Hospital in Chicago from septic infection as a result of a criminal abortion.  On her deathbed, Bertha identified Dr. A. F. Butler as her abortionist. At the time of Bertha's death he was suffering from some sort of paralysis that kept him from testifying at an investigation into her death.

That very same day, Caroline Repritis of Lime Street, Chicago, died in Chicago's Englewood Hospital from complications of an attempted abortion.  Midwife Pauline Urbanos was held by the coroner.

A Boyfriend's Deadly Help in Nebraska, 1906

It was Spring of 1906 in Nebraska. Anna Gosch called her boyfriend, Mr. Edwards, admitted that he knew Anna, that they'd had a sexual relationship, and that she had called him to tell him that her period was late. He admitted that he went to the town of Kearney, and got a hotel room with the intent of perpetrating an abortion.

Edwards wouldn't say what happened in the hotel room. He did say that the next day he took her to her home, and using a speculum he tried to insert a catheter into her uterus, which at the time was a method often used by doctors to cause an abortion. Edwards, however, couldn't get the catheter inserted.

He said that Anna went upstairs and returned with a catheter with a wire in it, which would stiffen it for insertion. He said that the wire did its job in allowing him to get the catheter inserted. He then bent the wire and threw it away.

A witness in the later trial, however, said that Edwards denied having done the abortion himself. He said that Anna had gone upstairs, then come down and told him that she thought "she had done it." Physical evidence suggested otherwise: a speculum and three catheters were in Edwards' valise when he was arrested.

A physician, Dr. Cameron, was called on Thursday, March 15, to care for Anna. He saw her twice a day until the Monday before her death. During that time he consulted with another physician and concluded that Anna was going to die.

Dr. Cameron testified, "I asked her what had been done to make her sick, and she said there had been a man had passed an instrument into her with a wire in it, rubber with a wire in it. I asked her when that had been done, and she said Monday; she thought it was Monday night." When asked about who the man was, "She said he was a man who traveled for rubber goods or instruments of some kind, said he was a traveling man."

Anna Gosch died on Tuesday, March 20, 1906, at 6:10 PM.  Edwards was convicted of homicide.

Anna's death is similar to the death of "Daisy" Roe, a systems analyst who died in 1990 after allowing her boyfriend to attempt to perform an abortion on her with a piece of aquarium tubing.  It was also unusual in that it was performed by an amateur, rather than by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.

Playing Hardball Against Pregnancy Center Haters

The abortion lobby keeps trying to pass legislation to correct what they see as "false advertising" by pregnancy help centers. They claim that the full weight of law needs to go into making it clear that CPCs do not do abortions, because women wanting abortions might go there by accident and be really annoyed.

I know of how to stop these attacks in a heartbeat: The Full Disclosure to Abortion Patients Addendum Take the text of the anti-CPC bill and announce that prolife legislators will get 100% behind it as soon as an addendum to this effect is added:
  1. Any facility that advertises as an abortion facility must provide complete and honest information as to the licensing status of the facility and staff. Physician's offices must clearly state that they are not licensed clinics. If a facility is not licensed by the state as a medical facility, this must be clearly stated. If anesthesia is administered, the qualifications of those administering anesthesia must be posted. The qualifications (or lack thereof) of staff overseeing recovery must be posted. The qualifications (or lack thereof) of any staff providing counseling must be posted.
  2. Any negative findings in the five most recent inspections must be posted in layman's terms in a highly visible area of the waiting room. Copies of the five most recent inspection reports must be made available to prospective patients upon request. If the facility is neither licensed nor inspected, a notice must be prominently posted to that effect.
  3. Notice of any disciplinary actions currently in force against any licensed staff must be clearly and prominently posted in layman's terms. Full copies of the relevant documents must be made available to patients upon request.
  4. If a facility advertises that they provide counseling, they must also provide a breakdown as to what percent of their patients choose abortion, adoption, and parenting.
  5. Information about patient deaths, along with deficiencies that led to the deaths, must be prominently posted, along with any other information a reasonable patient would want to know before making a decision about trusting her life to that facility.
Of course, this will be drafted in legalese, but you get the idea.

Here's what one currently operating chain's ads would look like:

A sign posted in a clinic lobby (for a fictitious clinic based on typical inspection deficiencies) might read:

November 2012 inspection deficiencies:
    * 7 instances of outdated medications
    * 11 instances of sanitary deficiencies
    * Re-use of disposable instruments
    * No current CPR certification for 5 of 7 staff records inspected

November 2011 inspection deficiencies:
    * 4 instances of outdated medications
    * 4 instances of sanitary deficiencies
    * Broken autoclave
    * Re-use of disposable instruments
    * No current CPR certification for 4 of 7 staff records inspected
    * Crash cart missing medications

And so on.

The abortion lobby would have two equally unpalatable choices:
  1. Agree to the addendum and then watch the prolifers have a field day demanding that the law be enforced against specific facilities.
  2. Fight the addendum and then watch the prolifers have a field day holding hearings showing why the addendum is necessary.
They'd drop the whole attack on CPCs like Adrian Monk would drop a milk-covered snake.

I think it's a win-win for us and for the women of America. Why aren't we doing it?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Scant Info in the Early 20th Century, Abundant Witnesses in the 19th

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.[1] However, to my knowledge the specific perpetrator was not identified.

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.

Olivia Becker, a 34-year-old homemaker, died in Chicago from abortion complications on March 19, 1915.  I have been unable to gain any other information about Olivia's death.

At about 4:00 p.m. on March 19, 1907, homemaker Bessie Simmons, age 30, died at her Chicago home from infection caused by a criminal abortion perpetrated on February 22 at the office of Dr. Charles D. Hughes, who was arrested in the death.

Many Witnesses Shed Light

Mary Noble, age 38, died at her home at No. 54 Dominick Street in New York's 28th Precinct on March 19, 1867.  She had been separated from her husband for a year or two. He testified that the split had been due to her being "too intimate with [George Wait] Carson (the seducer). 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.

Their son, W. D. Noble, had lived with her. 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. W.D. 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."
Police Captain John F. Dickson learned of the death on Sunday, and arrested the guilty parties. He went to 627 Third-avenue with the coroner and found abortion instruments in a bureau drawer there.

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.

Carson testified that he'd known Mary for about three years. He had met her when she was still living in Jersey City with son and daughter, since her husband was at that time away in the war. Mary had moved to New York after discovering she was pregnant, to keep the pregnancy a secret. She had, he said, spoken with him prior to the move "about getting rid of the effects of their criminality." Carson had arranged with the doctor, who he knew as Dubois, to make a $10 down payment and pay another $15 after the abortion.

Carson said that Mary reported that the first abortion attempt, done by attaching a battery to her body with leads, and using some sort of instrument internally, had no effect. A second attempt was made using some sort of internal injection of water. Carson saw Mary for the last time on February 21, when she was suffering chills. Carson 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. Their efforts, of course, were to no avail; Mary died at 2:20 p.m.

When the police went to arrest Thiers, they found his home "sumptuously and comfortably fitted up." There were four women there who admitted that they were there for abortions.

"An examination of the premises resulted in the discovery of 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.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Over a Century of Abortion Deaths

1981: A Fatal Embolism

Norma Greene, a 34-year-old divorcee, went into cardio-respiratory arrest and died in a Winston-Salem hospital on March 16, 1981. Her death certificate indicates that the arrest was caused by a pulmonary embolism (tissue or air in the lungs) following a recent abortion.

1973: Civil Rights Leader Turned Abortion Profiteer

Candid shot of a middle-aged Black man with a receeding hairline, dark-rimmed eyeglasses, and a short moustache
Dr. T.R. Mason Howard
Reports on death of Evelyn Dudley, age 38, alleged that she was treated at Friendship Medical Center in Chicago on March 16, 1973. Later, at home, she collapsed in the driveway. She was taken to a hospital, where attempts to save her failed.

Her death was due to shock, hemorrhage from a ruptured cervix and vagina, from "remote abortion." Civil rights leader Dr. T.R. Mason Howard (pictured) stated that Evelyn was treated at Friendship for infection sustained in an abortion in Detroit. But Evelyn's brother stated that she had come to Chicago specifically to have the abortion.

Julia Rogers and Dorothy Brown also died after abortions at Friendship Medical Center.

1924: A Mystery Abortion in Chicago

On March 16, 1924, 35-year-old Selma Hedlund died in Chicago's Jefferson Park Hospital (pictured) from complications of an abortion performed that day. The sources says that she died at the crime scene. Nobody was ever positively identified as the abortionist. However, a Carl Carlson, indicated as a person known to Selma, was arrested as an accomplice.

1915: Two Days, Three Deaths

On March 16, 1915, 19-year-old saleslady Hazel Wilcox, who also worked as a cabaret singer, died at a Chicago home from sepsis caused by an abortion believed to have been perpetrated that day by midwife Julia Patera. Patera was held by the coroner on March 20 but the case never went to trial, despite the fact that Elinora Cassidy had died only the previous day after identifying Patera as her abortionist.

In an odd coincidence, a second woman named Hazel died in Chicago on March 16, 1915. Hazel Carr, a 26-year-old homemaker, died in her Chicago home from an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

1905: One of Dr. Lucy Hagenow's Many Victims

On March 16, 1905, 27-year-old seamstress Mary Putnam died at Chicago's Monroe Street Hospital from infection caused by an abortion. May had been brought to the hospital two days earlier, in critical condition, and the police were notified. The party responsible for Mary's death is noted as Dr. Lucy Hagenow, who did her abortions on her own premises and even had a preferred undertaker to haul away the bodies.

Hagenow and a man identified as F. E. MacCordy were arrested by the Coroner's Jury on March 16. MacCordy was president of the MacCordy cigar Company and lived in the same building with Mary. He was about 40 years old.

Louise Derchow, Annie Dorris, Abbia Richards, and Emma Dep in San Francisco, would go on to be linked to over a dozen Chicago abortion deaths:
A middle-aged white woman with small facial features and a sharp nose, wearing a sailor-style collar and hat and wire-rimmed eyeglasses
Dr. Lucy Hagenow

1899: "Life of the Mother" Defense Falls Flat

Harriet "Hattie" Reece was a 25-year-old primary school teacher in Browning, Illinois. Her husband, Frank, was also a teacher and principal at the school where Hattie taught. They had been married two and a half years in 1899, when the events unfolded that ended Hattie's life on March 16. And the finger pointed at Dr. James W. Aiken, who seemed to be a bit of a George Tiller precursor -- somebody who would find a "life of the mother" case in any pregnancy. But unlike Tiller, Aiken couldn't just buy his way out of trouble. He was found guilty and sentenced to fifteen years.

1875: Bright Prospects Cut Short

On March 16, 1875, aspiring opera singer Annie Curtis, age 28, died in New York from an abortion perpetrated by midwife Annie Ihl. Her sad story, with many ups and downs over her short life, is long and complex, and can be read in its entirety here.

1869: A Wife's Final Secret and a Change in the Law

On March 16, 1869, Magdalena Philippi died in New York of pelvic infection caused by an abortion performed on her, evidently, by 48-year-old French immigrant Dr. Gabriel WolffHer husband, George, said that his wife had told him about the pregnancy about three weeks before her death.'

She had been attending to her usual household chores and helping out in the saloon until March 1, when, George said, she went to see a doctor. She began to feel unwell that evening and went home early. When George got home he found her in bed and suffering from abdominal pain. She told him that she'd gone to Dr. Wolff, saying that she felt too sick to have another child, so he had given her some medicine "to rid herself of it."

Wolff had said that she'd "feel badly for three or four hours" but would quickly recover. When morning came and Magdalena was still sick, George wanted to call in a different doctor, but Magdalena refused. Wolff made several visits to his patient over the ensuing days, trying one useless remedy after the other, including leeches and mustard plasters, none of which could save Magdalena.

Although Magdalena was four or five months pregnant, prosecutors had no way of proving that she had felt movement in the fetus, so they could not prosecute Dr. Wolff. The next day, a bill was introduced in Albany to eliminate the quickening distinction in prosecuting abortion cases. This would make it easier to prosecute abortionists like Wolff.