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1911: The abortion death of Rauka Wilen
Midwife indicted
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On February 16, 1911, Mrs. Elizabeth M. Martin died from a criminal abortion performed in Chicago on February 10.

A midwife named Mrs. Schutner was indicted for felony murder.

There is no record that the case ever went to trial.

Anna's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was 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 information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

Illegal by Doctors Illegal by Paramedical Illegal by Amateurs Self Induced

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


Source: Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database

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