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1914: The abortion death of Lillie Giovenco
Three physicians implicated
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On October 1, 1914, eighteen-year-old Lillie Giovenco died at Wesley Hospital in Chicago from complications of a criminal abortion.

Dr. Eva Shaver, Dr. Leopold Pijan, and Dr. John Fernow were held by the coroner in Lillie's death.

The coroner concluded that the fatal abortion had been preformed on September 5 in a medical facility that my source describes as "Abortion place".

Lillie's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

The involvement of Leopold Pijan raises an interesting question to me. A man identified as a "scrub nurse" named Leobaldo Pejuan was sentenced in the 1955 abortion death of Jacqueline Smith in New York. I wonder if they are perhaps the same man.

Eva Shaver was prosecuted for the 1915 abortion death of Anna Johnson, which Shaver had tried to disguise as a suicide by shooting the dead woman in the head as she lay on the floor of Shaver's home.

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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