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Ellen White, Criminal Abortion Death
Death attributed to midwife
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On January 10, 1907, Mrs. Ellen White, age 36, died in her home from an abortion performed there that day.

A midwife named Emma Watchek was arrested in the death.

Ellen's abortion was unusual in that it was not performed by a physician.

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. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

Illegal by Doctors Illegal by Paramedical Illegal by Amateurs Self Induced

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion


Sources: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

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