Abortion Deaths Before Roe

I can under­stand how, pre­sent­ed with mate­r­i­al put out by groups that sup­port legal abor­tion, a per­son could blame abor­tion’s legal sta­tus for the car­nage before Roe vs. Wade legal­ized abor­tion across Amer­i­ca. After all, there are far few­er deaths per year from abor­tion post-Roe, when it’s legal, than there were when it was ille­gal. But there is a dif­fer­ence between cor­re­la­tion and causal­i­ty — just because two things hap­pen at the same time does­n’t mean one caused the other.

For exam­ple, if you have a high fever, and are very con­gest­ed, it would be wrong to con­clude that the fever is caus­ing the con­ges­tion, or that the con­ges­tion is caus­ing the fever. Both would have their real cause in what­ev­er virus or bac­teri­um was mak­ing you ill.

Many things changed between the years tab­u­lat­ed in the Homi­cide in Chica­go Inter­ac­tive Data­base and the post-Roe world of legal abor­tion. Antibi­otics were devel­oped and became wide­spread and were refined and improved. Blood typ­ing and trans­fu­sions were devel­oped. Our under­stand­ing of what caus­es, and how to treat, hypo­v­olemic shock has pro­gressed con­sid­er­ably. Doc­tors have become more aware of the need to keep things clean and san­i­tary, and to ster­il­ize instru­ments. Bet­ter nutri­tion has made women health­i­er in the first place. Improved san­i­ta­tion reduced the over­all filth that caused many infections.

To sin­gle out legal­iza­tion, and to ignore the real fac­tors, is to mis­take coin­ci­dence for cause. And if you look at mater­nal mor­tal­i­ty through­out the 20th Cen­tu­ry, you can see that there was­n’t any change in the trend at all with legal­iza­tion of abortion:

external image MaternalMortality.gifClear­ly some­thing oth­er than legal­iza­tion was sav­ing wom­en’s lives. And if you don’t have that in mind, it’s easy to believe what abor­tion sup­port­ers say — that it was legal­iza­tion, not all the many improve­ments in health, hygiene, nutri­tion, and med­i­cine — that had such a dra­mat­ic impact on mater­nal mortality.


Pre-Roe Abortion Deaths

The fol­low­ing deaths are list­ed in alpha­bet­i­cal order by the wom­an’s last name. Women whose names aren’t giv­en in source doc­u­ments are giv­en the sur­name “Roe” unless anoth­er source gives them a dif­fer­ent pseu­do­nym.
You will notice that not all of these wom­en’s abor­tions were ille­gal. This is because some states legal­ized abor­tion for var­i­ous rea­sons before Roe vs. Wade

  • Annie Alli­son
  • In Sep­tem­ber of 1923, 44-year-old Annie Alli­son of Brook­lyn died at the office of chi­ro­prac­tor Hen­ry Lee Mot­tard, who prac­ticed under the name of Dr. Hen­ry L. Green.
  • Anna Ander­son
  • In Octo­ber of 1915, Anna Ander­son, a 25-year-old unmar­ried woman, went to the office of Dr. A. A. Ausplund.
  • Olive Ash
  • Accom­pa­nied by her twin sis­ter, Olivia, Olive went to Dr. William Howard’s home to secure an abor­tion in 1858.
  • Doris Beck­er
  • In Decem­ber of 1948, Dr. Cyril B. Babb plead­ed guilty to per­form­ing a fatal abor­tion on Doris Beck­er the pre­vi­ous Wednes­day in his office.
  • Kerne­da Bennett
  • Some­time between 1942 and 1949, Iva Rod­ef­fer Davis Coff­man per­formed an abor­tion on Kerne­da C. Ben­nett, result­ing in her death.
  • Hughret­ta Binkley
  • At lunchtime on the first of April, 1898, Hughret­ta “Etta” Bink­ley went to the residence/office of Dr.Belle Howard, aka Belle Shotwell, for an ille­gal abortion.
  • Cas­san­dra Bleavins
  • Cas­san­dra Bleav­ins, a 20-year-old clerk, had an abor­tion per­formed on her at John Wes­ley Hos­pi­tal, owned by Los Ange­les Coun­ty, in Sep­tem­ber of 1971.
  • Cora Burke
  • Cora A. Burke was a 20-year-old who had been wid­owed about five months. 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. R. J. Alcorn.
  • Annette Camorat­to
  • In May of 1934, 19-year-old actress Annette Camorat­to, stage name Toni Mor­gan, died of abor­tion com­pli­ca­tions. Dr. Har­ry A Felice was charged with homi­cide in Annet­te’s death.
  • Vivian Camp­bell
  • Accord­ing to the Nation­al Orga­ni­za­tion for Women web site, Vivian Camp­bell obtained some sort of ille­gal abor­tion, then died of peri­toni­tis in May of 1950.
  • Amelia Cardi­to
  • In Feb­ru­ary of 1944, Amelia Cardi­to, 34-year-old moth­er of 4, under­went an ille­gal abor­tion at the office of Dr. Antho­ny Renda.
  • Joyce Chor­ney
  • Joyce Chor­ney, age 25, died Wednes­day, in Novem­ber of 1953. Fifty-four-year-old Dr. Alfred Joseph was charged with crim­i­nal abor­tion in her death.
  • Helen Clark
  • Sarah Howe, age 57, had been blind since she was three years old. Howe was charged with abor­tion and with manslaugh­ter in the death of 23-year-old Helen Clark. Helen died in Sep­tem­ber of 1941.
  • Vir­ginia Clark
  • In Feb­ru­ary of 1929, Vir­ginia Clark died of com­pli­ca­tions of a botched, ille­gal abor­tion. Vir­ginia was treat­ed pri­or to her death by a Dr. McArthur, who said that Vir­ginia told him that when she learned that she was preg­nant, and the man respon­si­ble made arrarrange­ments for an abor­tion to be per­formed by a doctor.
  • Alice Cor­bett
  • In Octo­ber of1939, Miss Alice Cor­bett, age 28, of Brook­lyn, New York, died from com­pli­ca­tions of an ille­gal abor­tion. Dr. Allen F. Mur­phy was sen­tenced to 2–10 years in Sing-Sing for Alice’s death.
  • Twila Coul­ter
  • In Novem­ber of 1972, 21-year-old Twila trav­eled from her home in Col­orado to Cal­i­for­nia for a saline abortion.
  • Bar­bara Covington
  • Dr. Man­del M. Fried­man was charged with homi­cide in the Sep­tem­ber, 1962 death of Bar­bara C. Cov­ing­ton, age 35, a Flori­da socialite.
  • Kather­ine Cross
  • Kather­ine was one of two women to die in as many months at the hands of Dr. A.H. Yates in 1917.
  • Isabell Cuda
  • In Novem­ber of 1952, Isabell Cuda went to the home of Mary Murawsky in Rock­ford, Illi­nois, for an ille­gal abortion.
  • Mary Davies
  • In Decem­ber of 1956, 26-year-old Mary Davies of New York City arrived in the Ash­land, Penn­syl­va­nia office of abor­tion­ist Dr. Robert Dou­glas Spencer. She was seek­ing an abortion.
  • Mar­garet Davis
  • Mar­garet Davis was a 33-year-old home­mak­er who under­went an abor­tion at Wind­sor Hills Hos­pi­tal in Los Ange­les Coun­ty. Christo­pher Dot­son began the abor­tion in July of 1971.
  • Kather­ine DiDonato
  • In Octo­ber of 1936, 26-year-old Kather­ine DiDo­na­to, moth­er of two, was admit­ted to Roo­sevelt Hos­pi­tal to be treat­ed for com­pli­ca­tions of a crim­i­nal abor­tion. Detec­tives were told that Kather­ine had bought pills from drug clerk Hyman Kan­tor, who had then rec­om­mend­ed Dr. Aloy­sius Mul­hol­land to per­form an abortion.
  • Gwen­dolyn Drummer
  • Fif­teen-year-old Gwen­dolyn Drum­mer was a stu­dent at Har­ry Ellis High in Rich­mond, Cal­i­for­nia, when she was admit­ted to Doc­tor’s Hos­pi­tal of Pinole for a legal abortion.
  • Clara Duvall
  • Accord­ing to the Nation­al Orga­ni­za­tion for Women web site, Clara Bell Duvall was a 32-year-old mar­ried moth­er of five, aged 6 months to 12 years. NOW says that Clara attempt­ed a self-induced abor­tion with a knit­ting nee­dle and died in March of 1929.
  • Ilene Eagan
  • In March of 1947, Ilene Eagen was brought to Manka­to, Min­neso­ta, to the den­tal office of W. A. Groeb­n­er for an abortion.
  • Loret­ta Enders
  • Dr. Amen­ti Ronget­ti’s death sen­tence was hand­ed down by a Chica­go jury in March of 1928. Ronget­ti had been con­vict­ed of mur­der in the abor­tion death of 19-year-old Loret­ta Enders.
  • Marie Epper­son
  • The total num­ber of deaths attrib­uted to Okla­homa abor­tion doc­tors Thack­er and Elsiminger was eight. Marie Epper­son died in 1930.
  • Edith Eschrich
  • On New Years Eve of 1935, crim­i­nal abor­tion charges were dropped against Dr. Tobias Gins­berg, and his nurse, because of insuf­fi­cient evi­dence. The two were sus­pects in the death of 24-year-old Mrs. Edith Eschrich.
  • Iso­bel Ferguson
  • In April of 1932, Mrs. Iso­bel F. Fer­gu­son died of sus­pect­ed abor­tion com­pli­ca­tions. Two physi­cians in the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa area, J. W. Elsiminger and Richard E. Thack­er, were sus­pect­ed in the case.
  • Beat­rice Fisher
  • In 1945, Beat­rice Fern Fish­er died after an abor­tion per­formed in his office by Dr. Frank C. Hart in Seattle.
  • Janet Fos­ter
  • Eigh­teen-year-old Janet Fos­ter under­went an abor­tion at the hands of Richard Neal at Val­ley Doc­tors’ Hos­pi­tal in North Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia in Sep­tem­ber of 1971.
  • Ruth Friedl
  • Accord­ing to the Nation­al Orga­ni­za­tion for Women web site, Ruth Irene Friedl was a mar­ried, 27-year-old moth­er of two. NOW says that Ruth drank ergot api­ol, an herbal abor­ti­fa­cient, in August of 1929.
  • Anna Gosch
  • Anna Gosch died in March of 1906, after either she or her boyfriend per­formed an abor­tion with a catheter.
  • Doris Grant
  • Doris Grant, age 32, was admit­ted by W. W. Williams to Doc­tor’s Hos­pi­tal in Los Ange­les for an abor­tion in Feb­ru­ary of 1971.
  • Vivian Grant
  • In Jan­u­ary of 1961, Dr. Man­del M. Fried­man con­tact­ed a Queens under­tak­er, ask­ing him to arrange bur­ial for 23-year-old Vivian Grant of New York.
  • Edith Green
  • Edith’s boyfriend admit­ted to police that he had arranged for an abor­tion to be per­formed on Edith by Dr. Thomas E. Walsh in 1926.
  • Jolene Grif­fith
  • In March of 1962, Dr. J. Bryan Hen­rie, an osteopath, per­formed an abor­tion on Jolene Joyce Grif­fith, at his clin­ic in Grove, Oklahoma.
  • Ruth Hall
  • In April of 1932, Ruth Hall died of sus­pect­ed abor­tion com­pli­ca­tions. Okla­homa City abor­tion doc­tors Elsiminger and Thack­er were suspects.
  • Bar­bara Hanson
  • In Octo­ber of 1939, the body of Bar­bara Han­son, age 21, was found in a Hous­ton, Texas, motel room. James Carter and George F. Nor­ton plead­ed guilty to per­form­ing the abor­tion that killed Barbara.
  • Arret­ta Hardesty
  • In 1928, Roy E. Hard­esty won an award of $5,000 for the death of his wife, Arret­ta. Arret­ta had paid a physi­cian, John T. Mar­tin, $10 for the abor­tion, which was per­formed surgically.
  • Ada Hawk
  • John O. Edmon­son was con­vict­ed of manslaugh­ter in the sec­ond degree after an abor­tion he arranged result­ed in the death of his para­mour, 20-year-old Ada Hawk. Ada died some time before 1895.
  • Eleanor Haynes
  • Eleanor Haynes, age 22, died at Hack­en­sack Hos­pi­tal in New Jer­sey in Octo­ber, 1937, after indi­cat­ing that Dr. P. Ralph McFeely had per­formed an abor­tion on her.
  • Bet­ty Hines
  • Bet­ty Hines was 21 years old when she was checked into Doc­tors Hos­pi­tal in Cal­i­for­nia for an abor­tion to be per­formed by Dr. A. Mitchell in July, 1971.
  • Denise Holmes
  • Denise Holmes, a 24-year-old Aus­tralian woman liv­ing in Texas, decid­ed to under­go an abor­tion at Aval­on Hos­pi­tal in Los Ange­les, Cal­i­for­nia, on her way home for Christ­mas of 1970.
  • Anna John­son
  • In late May, 1915, Anna John­son died from an abor­tion per­formed by Dr. Eva Shaver, who then shot the dead woman in the head to dis­guise the death as a suicide.
  • Joyce John­son
  • In ear­ly April, 1955, Kar­vey Kar­man met Joyce John­son in a motel room and, using a specu­lum, insert­ed a nut­crack­er into Joyce in order to per­form an abortion.
  • Joy Joy
  • In May, 1950, Annis Whit­low Brown per­formed an abor­tion on Joy M. Joy, the unmar­ried moth­er of a six-year-old daughter.
  • Alice Kim­ber­ly
  • In Feb­ru­ary of 1957, vet­eri­nar­i­an Ira Led­bet­ter per­formed an abor­tion on Alice Kimberly.
  • Mary Kirk­patrick
  • Mary Kirk­patrick was a 16-year-old mill work­er in New Jer­sey in 1859. She and her boss became sex­u­al­ly involved, and Mary became preg­nant. Mary’s boss obtained an abor­ti­fa­cient, which he gave to Mary.
  • Bet­ty Ladel
  • Sylvia Red­man, who had a license to prac­tice natur­opa­thy, signed a writ­ten con­fes­sion in Octo­ber, 1954 regard­ing the death of Bet­ty Ladel.
  • Har­ri­et Larocque
  • Abra­ham Con­heim had promised mar­riage to 19-year-old Har­ri­et Larocque. In April of 1902, Har­ri­et dis­cov­ered that she was preg­nant. Con­heim reneged on his promise of mar­riage, and instead arranged a crim­i­nal abor­tion for her.
  • Asun­ta La Rosa
  • In ear­ly May, 1938, Mrs. Genevieve Hor­ton, a prac­ti­cal nurse, was released on bail pend­ing tri­al in an abor­tion case. After being released, Hor­ton per­formed an abor­tion on 29-year-old Mrs. Asun­ta La Rosa, a moth­er of three.
  • Nan­cy Jo Lee
  • In April of 1932, a young woman died of abor­tion com­pli­ca­tions — 17-year-old Nan­cy Jo Lee, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa co-ed. Richard E. Thack­er, a sur­geon, was charged with the death.
  • Har­ri­et Lichtenberg
  • In Octo­ber of 1942, 23-year-old Har­ri­et Licht­en­berg of Brook­lyn died in Roy­al Hos­pi­tal, the Bronx, from sus­pect­ed crim­i­nal abor­tion com­pli­ca­tions. Dr. Hen­ry Katz was indict­ed for first degree manslaugh­ter in Har­ri­et’s death.
  • Sara Lint
  • Sara Fran­ki Lint, a 22-year-old coed, sub­mit­ted to an abor­tion at San Vicente Hos­pi­tal in Los Ange­les, Cal­i­for­nia, in August of 1970.
  • Rose Lip­n­er
  • Rose died at Riverdale (mater­ni­ty) Hos­pi­tal in late Jan­u­ary, 1936. Dr. Maxwell C. Katz, who both oper­at­ed and lived at Riverdale, signed a death cer­tifi­cate. After the funer­al, an anony­mous caller noti­fied the police that Rose’s death was sus­pi­cious. Author­i­ties had Rose’s body exhumed, and an autop­sy showed that Rose had died from an ille­gal abortion.
  • Bar­bara Lofrumento
  • Bar­bara, a 19-year-old col­lege stu­dent, informed her par­ents that she was preg­nant in 1962. Mr. and Mrs. Lofru­men­to arranged for an abor­tion by Dr. Har­vey Lothringer.
  • Elva Loza­da
  • Elva Loza­da is list­ed on the Life Dynam­ics “Tomb­stone Project” poster as hav­ing died in Cal­i­for­nia from a legal abor­tion in 1964.
  • Sharon Mar­grave
  • Lit­tle is known about Sharon, but in May of 1970, she died fol­low­ing a legal abor­tion in Los Ange­les Coun­ty, Cal­i­for­nia. She was 25 years old.
  • Dorothy Mar­tin
  • In late July, 1949, on the basis of a third-par­ty refer­ral, Dorothy Mar­tin went to the home of P.D. Bei­gun for an abortion.
  • Mar­garet Marts
  • Mrs. Marts went to a Dr. Ander­son, who she’d pre­vi­ous­ly nev­er seen, in Jan­u­ary of 1920. He did not exam­ine her, but made arrange­ments to go to her home around noon the fol­low­ing day to per­form “an operation.”
  • Lil­lian McCullough
  • In 1926, Dr. James P. A. Nolan was arrest­ed for the crim­i­nal abor­tion death of 18-year-old Lil­lian McCullough.
  • Made­line McGeehan
  • In Novem­ber, 1942, 26-year-old Made­line McGee­han died at Prospect Hos­pi­tal in New York after an ille­gal abor­tion. Arrest­ed were Dr. Joseph Nisonoff; his nurse, Camille Ewald; his recep­tion­ist, Pearl Tense; and Dr. Max J. Wein­stein, who was thought to have referred Made­line to Nisonoff.
  • Natal­ie Meyers
  • Six­teen-year-old Natal­ie was brought to San Vicente Hos­pi­tal in Los Ange­les by her moth­er in Octo­ber, 1972.
  • Cleo Moore
  • In late March, 1942, 19-year-old Cleo Flo­rence Moore died at New Rochelle Hos­pi­tal in New York from peri­toni­tis from an ille­gal abor­tion. Upon admis­sion, Cleo told author­i­ties that she had tak­en some pills to induce the abor­tion, but before her death she changed her sto­ry and said that Dr. Frank F. Mari­no had per­formed the fatal abortion.
  • Kather­ine Morse
  • After Cal­i­for­nia legal­ized abor­tion on demand in 1970, a Texas com­pa­ny began sell­ing abor­tion refer­rals and air fare. Twen­ty-year-old Kather­ine Morse was one cus­tomer. Kather­ine was admit­ted to Bel Air Memo­r­i­al Hos­pi­tal in LA Coun­ty on the first of Sep­tem­ber, 1972.
  • Emi­ly Nohavec
  • Emma Bick­el, a 59-year-old mid­wife, was charged with sec­ond-degree manslaugh­ter in the death of 19-year-old Emi­ly Nohavec of St. Louis in 1913.
  • Maria Orte­ga
  • Twen­ty-three-year-old Maria Her­nan­dez Orte­ga trav­eled from her home in Mass­a­chu­setts for a legal abor­tion my Dr. Armi­da Zepe­ta in her New York office in Octo­ber, 1970.
  • Vio­la Parr
  • In Feb­ru­ary of 1919, W. G. Waters and M. T. Sum­mer­lin per­formed an abor­tion on Vio­la Parr with instru­ments of some sort, caus­ing her death.
  • Agnes Pear­son
  • In late July of 1941, Mrs. Agnes Pear­son of White Plains, New York died at Grass­lands Hos­pi­tal in New York of sus­pect­ed com­pli­ca­tions from an abor­tion. Dr. Nathan Schwartz and Dr. Samuel Schwartz (not relat­ed) were charged with manslaugh­ter in Agnes’ death.
  • Eri­ka Peterson
  • Eri­ka Peter­son, age 28, died in July, 1961 dur­ing an abor­tion at Scripps Memo­r­i­al Hos­pi­tal in La Jol­la, California.
  • Mag­dale­na Philippi
  • In mid-March, 1869, Mag­dale­na Philip­pi died of com­pli­ca­tions of an abor­tion per­formed on her, evi­dent­ly by a Dr. Gabriel Wolff.
  • Gertrude Pin­sky
  • Oper­at­ing on a tip, police, accom­pa­nied by an ambu­lance, broke into a pri­vate home in the Bronx, in ear­ly April, 1954. There they found Gertrude Pin­sky, age 35, dead from sep­tic poi­son­ing from an ille­gal abor­tion. Police arrest­ed Flo­rence Cav­al­luz­zo, a res­i­dent of the home, and Hugo Francese, an unli­censed physician.
  • Gene Raligh
  • Some­time in the ear­ly part of the 20th cen­tu­ry, physi­cian and sur­geon H. W. Coul­ter per­formed an abor­tion upon Gene Raligh, lead­ing to her death from septicemia.
  • Vir­ginia Rappe
  • An aspir­ing actress, 25-year-old Vir­ginia Rappe, took ill under strange cir­cum­stances at a week­end par­ty Roscoe “Fat­ty” Arbuck­le was hold­ing at a San Fran­cis­co hotel in Sep­tem­ber, 1921. Four days lat­er, she was dead.
  • Mrs. F.S. Roach
  • In April, 1932, Mrs. F. S. Roach died of sus­pect­ed abor­tion com­pli­ca­tions. Okla­homa abor­tion doc­tors Elsiminger and Thack­er were sus­pect­ed in the case.
  • “Alice” Roe
  • Alice was 31 years old when she under­went a 14-week saline abor­tion in New York City.
  • “Aman­da” Roe
  • Aman­da was 19 years old when she trav­eled from Indi­ana to New York for a legal abor­tion in 1970.
  • “Amy” Roe
  • Amy was 35 years old when she had a legal abor­tion on Christ­mas Eve of 1970.
  • “Andrea” Roe
  • Andrea was 26 years old when she under­went a legal abor­tion at a New York City abor­tion facil­i­ty in Jan­u­ary of 1971.
  • “Ani­ta” Roe
  • Ani­ta was a 23-year-old moth­er of two when she chose safe and legal abor­tion in 1971.
  • “Annie” Roe
  • Annie trav­eled from New Jer­sey to New York for a first-trimester abor­tion in June of 1971.
  • “April” Roe
  • April was 17 years old when she under­went a saline abor­tion in New York City in August of 1971.
  • “Audrey” Roe
  • Audrey was 44 years old when she under­went a first-trimester abor­tion in New York in July of 1971.
  • “Bar­bara” Roe
  • Bar­bara was 35 years old when she trav­eled from Michi­gan to New York for a safe and legal abor­tion in 1971.
  • “Becky” Roe
  • Becky was 18 years old when she trav­eled from Arkansas to New York for a safe and legal abor­tion. She was 14 weeks pregnant.
  • “Beth” Roe
  • Beth was 23 years old when she trav­eled from Mass­a­chu­setts to New York for an abor­tion in 1971.
  • “Cindy” Roe
  • Cindy was 25 years old when she sub­mit­ted to an abor­tion in 1972. She was nine weeks preg­nant and the abor­tion was per­formed by vac­u­um aspiration.
  • “Colleen” Roe
  • In ear­ly March of 1972, Colleen trav­eled from Michi­gan to New York for a safe and legal abor­tion. She was 21 years old and 20 weeks pregnant.
  • “Con­nie” Roe
  • Con­nie was 31 years old when she under­went a safe and legal abor­tion in New York in ear­ly March, 1972.
  • “Danielle” Roe
  • Danielle, age 18, had trav­eled from Mass­a­chu­setts to New York for a safe and legal abor­tion. In mid-May, 1972, the abor­tion was per­formed. Min­utes after the abor­tion was com­plet­ed, Danielle was dead.
  • “Dawn” Roe
  • Dawn was 29 years old and 7 weeks preg­nant when she under­went a legal abor­tion in August of 1972.
  • “Helen” Roe
  • Some time pri­or to 1951, Annas Wit­low Brown was con­vict­ed of manslaugh­ter in the abor­tion death of a woman whose name I’ve been unable to deter­mine. I’ll refer to her as “Helen” Roe.
  • Jane Roe of ’37
  • In late Decem­ber of 1941, Dr. Samuel Roth was sen­tenced to a year in prison after plead­ing guilty to manslaugh­ter in the ille­gal abor­tion death of a woman. Roth, whose license was sus­pend­ed at the time, per­formed the abor­tion in his office in mid-Jan­u­ary of 1937.
  • Jane Roe of Newark
  • Dr. Charles I. Gor­don plead­ed guilty in the 1937 abor­tion death of a Newark woman.
  • “Judy” Roe
  • Judy was a 42-year-old moth­er of four from upstate New York when she chose safe and legal abor­tion in 1970.
  • “Julie” Roe
  • Julie was only 14 years old when she under­went an abor­tion in New York in March, 1972.
  • “Kim­ber­ly” Roe
  • Kim­ber­ly was 25 years old and 18 weeks preg­nant when she under­went an abor­tion in New York City in Decem­ber, 1970.
  • “Lori” Roe
  • Lori was 17 years old and 16 weeks preg­n­nat when she was admit­ted to a Mary­land hos­pi­tal for a saline abor­tion between July and Decem­ber of 1970.
  • “Mary” Roe
  • Mary was 19 years old when she checked into a Los Ange­les hos­pi­tal for a first-trimester abor­tion some time before 1973.
  • “Mon­i­ca” Roe
  • Mon­i­ca was a 31-year-old moth­er of five. She request­ed an abor­tion when she was 8 weeks preg­nant in 1971.
  • “Nan­cy” Roe
  • Nan­cy was 16 years old, and 16 weeks preg­nant, when she under­went a saline abor­tion in 1972.
  • “Nina” Roe
  • In Feb­ru­ary of 1933, a 22-year-old unmar­ried store clerk dis­cov­ered that she was preg­nant. In April, Nina went to a nurs­ing home oper­at­ed by a nurse to ask about an abor­tion. The nurse informed the woman and her lover that Dr. E. T. Mar­tin or anoth­er doc­tor would be able to per­form an abortion.
  • “Pat­sy” Roe
  • In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, 1924, Ida Can­tor per­formed an abor­tion on a woman not named in West­law sum­maries. I’ll refer to her as “Pat­sy” Roe.
  • “Robin” Roe
  • In Feb­ru­ary of 1972, 21-year-old Robin trav­eled from Mass­a­chu­setts to New York for a first trimester abortion.
  • “Roseanne” Roe
  • Roseanne was in the sec­ond trimester of preg­nan­cy when she chose safe and legal abor­tion in 1971. She was 37 years old, had had four children.
  • “Rox­anne” Roe
  • Rox­anne was 17 years old when she trav­eled to New York from Michi­gan to have a first-trimester abor­tion in a doc­tor’s office. The doc­tor gave her seda­tives and local anes­the­sia to begin the abor­tion in mid-May, 1972.
  • “San­dra” Roe
  • San­dra was 18 years old when she under­went a first-trimester abor­tion pro­ce­dure in New York in April of 1971. Three days lat­er, San­dra killed herself.
  • “Sara” Roe
  • Sara under­went a sec­ond trimester abor­tion in New York City in May of 1972.
  • “Sheryl” Roe
  • Sheryl was 23 years old when she chose abor­tion. She had a his­to­ry of sick­le cell ane­mia and three live births. She was in her first trimester of preg­nan­cy when she under­went the abor­tion in July of 1970.
  • “Tam­my” Roe
  • Tam­my trav­eled from Ohio to New York to under­go an abor­tion, which was per­formed in Sep­tem­ber, 1971. She was 33 years old.
  • “Vicky” Roe
  • Vic­ki was 23 years old in August of 1971 when she under­went an abor­tion in New York state. Saline was inject­ed into her uterus to begin the abor­tion. The next day, she began to show signs of infec­tion. She died of sepsis.
  • “Wendy” Roe
  • Wendy was 23 years old and 16 weeks preg­nant when she sought an abor­tion in 1972.
  • LaSan­dra Russ
  • Twen­ty-year-old LaSan­dra Russ, from Berkley, Cal­i­for­nia, went to Los Ange­les to have an abor­tion in Decem­ber, 1971.
  • F.S.
  • A 16-year-old girl under­went a sec­ond-trimester saline abor­tion in late August, 1969.
  • Stel­la Saenz
  • Stel­la Saenz, age 42, had arranged for a legal abor­tion in the spring of 1968.
  • Geral­dine Santoro
  • Ger­ri San­toro died of an ille­gal abor­tion per­formed by her boyfriend in 1964.
  • Sylvia Sawdy
  • In Decem­ber, 1885, Sylvia Sawdy went to Grand Rapids by train. There, she let her boyfriend per­form an abor­tion on her.
  • Car­ole Schaner
  • Car­ole Schan­er was 37 years old when she trav­eled from Ohio to Buf­fa­lo, New York, for a safe and legal abor­tion. Dr. Jesse Ketchum per­formed a vagi­nal hys­tero­to­my abor­tion in Octo­ber, 1971.
  • Flo­rence Schnoor
  • On Valen­tine’s Day, 1942, Flo­rence Nim­ick Schnoor, age 24, died at St. Joseph’s Hos­pi­tal in New York of what the coro­ner called a “bru­tal and inept” ille­gal abor­tion. I’m clas­si­fy­ing this as ama­teur rather than “unknown” because no doc­tor was charged in the case.
  • Dorothy Schultz
  • Dorothy Schultz, 19 years of age, became preg­nant in June of 1929. On June 15 or 16, Dorothy’s moth­er brought her to Dr. W. B. Parke in Camp Dou­glas to arrange an abor­tion. He exam­ined her and agreed to do an abor­tion for $150.
  • Rita Shea
  • Queens patrol­man Howard Bai­ley, morgue atten­dant Vic­tor Genz, and a Texas med­ical stu­dent, Ben­jamin Lock­hart, were arrest­ed in the Decem­ber, 1965 abor­tion death of Rita Shea, a 33-year-old Long Island woman.
  • Jacque­line Smith
  • In Decem­ber of 1955, Jack­ie told her boyfriend that she was preg­nant. He did not want to mar­ry Jack­ie and instead arranged for a scrub nurse, Leobal­do Pejuan, to per­form an abor­tion on Christ­mas Eve.
  • Mar­garet Louise Smith
  • Twen­ty-five-year-old Mar­garet Smith trav­eled from Michi­gan to New York for an abor­tion because she had been exposed to rubel­la. Her abor­tion­ist, Jesse Ketchum, per­formed a vagi­nal hys­tero­to­my on Mar­garet in June of 1971.
  • Eliza Sow­ers
  • A Philadel­phia board­ing house own­er report­ed that in ear­ly Octo­ber of 1839, a Dr. Hen­ry Chauncey appeared at break­fast time and had her make some spe­cial tea. The tea was giv­en to 21-year-old Eliza Sow­ers, a paper mill worker.
  • Elise Stone
  • Elise was one of two women to die in as many months at the hands of Dr. A.H. Yates in 1917.
  • Kathryn Strong
  • In Jan­u­ary of 1972, 26-year-old Kathryn Strong went to Civic Cen­ter Hos­pi­tal in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia for a legal abor­tion that was to be per­formed by Dr. Harold Van Maren.
  • Eva Swan
  • In Sep­tem­ber of 1910, Eva died after a “Dr. Grant” per­formed an abor­tion on her. “Dr. Grant,” it turned out, was actu­al­ly a Dr. Robert Thomp­son, a grad­u­ate of Dart­mouth and Bal­ti­more Med­ical College.
  • Rob­bie Lou Thompson
  • In 1932, Richard E. Thack­er, a sur­geon, was charged with mur­der in the abor­tion death of Rob­bie Lou Thompson.
  • Iva Triplett
  • On the first of March, 1921, Dr. C.W. Mil­liken per­formed an abor­tion on Iva J. Triplett.
  • Cheryl Vos­sel­er
  • Cheryl Vos­sel­er was 17 years old when she was admit­ted to Fres­no Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal on in July of 1969, to under­go a legal abortion.
  • Jane Ward
  • In Octo­ber of 1947, Dr. Paul Singer report­ed that he had tak­en 22-year-old Jane Ward, heir to the Drake Bak­eries for­tune, to Park East Hos­pi­tal, to com­plete an ille­gal abor­tion some­body else had done. Jane died as a result. Singer was con­vict­ed of manslaugh­ter in Jane’s death.
  • Nan­cy Ward
  • In Feb­ru­ary of 1968, Nan­cy Ward flew from Okla­homa to Kansas city with her boyfriend for an abor­tion Nan­cy’s father had arranged. Nan­cy and her boyfriend vis­it­ed Dr. Richard Mucie.
  • Vir­ginia Watson
  • Vir­ginia was 32 years old and pur­su­ing a Hol­ly­wood career when she became preg­nant in 1954. Decid­ing that a baby would hurt her career, Vir­ginia arranged to have an abortion.
  • Ruth Weir
  • In Feb­ru­ary of 1929, Mrs. Ruth Weir, of East Orange, New Jer­sey, died at Orange Memo­r­i­al Hos­pi­tal of sep­sis con­tract­ed through a crim­i­nal abor­tion. Dr. Mau­rice Sturm was arrest­ed when Ruth impli­cat­ed him in a deathbed statement.
  • Irene Wen­gel
  • In June of 1902, Irene Wen­gel trav­eled to Tam­pa, Flori­da, where she was met by her cousin, J. Carl Chris­t­ian. Chris­t­ian had arranged for her to stay at the home of Dr. Fred­er­ick N. Weight­nov­el for an abortion.
  • Loret­ta Wilson
  • On Christ­mas day of 1934, the nude body of a young woman was found in a thick­et near a high­way south of New York City. She was iden­ti­fied as 19-year-old Loret­ta Wil­son. Dr. John H. Beck­er Jr., who admit­ted to hav­ing exam­ined Loret­ta, was charged with homi­cide in the death.
  • Grace Wolf
  • Grace Wolf, a young mar­ried woman, trav­eled from her home in Lans­ing to the office of Dr. C. Allen Sny­der in Dubuque, Iowa, in Novem­ber of 1917.
  • Vir­ginia Wyckoff
  • J.W. Elsiminger was an osteopath in Okla­homa City. He alone was the sus­pect in the abor­tion death of Vir­ginia Lee Wyck­off, a 21-year-old stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa. Vir­ginia died in April of 1932.
  • Gertrude Wynants
  • Gertrude died in July of 1925, of a crim­i­nal abor­tion. Mrs. Mar­garet Shott Higgens, age 23, was indict­ed for manslaugh­ter in Gertrude’s death.