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Inez Reed, Illegal Abortion Death
Body tossed off a cliff
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All I have on the death of the unfortunate Inez Reed comes from a 1919 reprint of an editorial in The San Francisco Star:

Poor Inez Reed, the betrayed Red Cross nurse, who died from the effects of an illegal operation, and whose body was brutally thrown over a cliff in San Mateo county, certainly erred, but she did not deserve the cold-blooded report of an army board of inquiry, that she "came to her death thru her own misconduct."

There are thousands who will think that she came to her death thru the misconduct of the "man in the case" -- who must be a wretch so vile that he is beneath the contempt of men. She was evidently deserted by him after her betrayal, for she had borrowed money from a friend to bring her here from Camp Funston; and desperate lest her condition should become known, had sought to hide her shame in the same way so many others like unfortunates have done. ....

The dread of the world's knowledge of her lapse from virtue, of being the subject of men's ribald jests, and of the sneers and jeers of her own sex, which she felt would be her punishment, were, perhaps, more than Inez Reed could bear, and she sought to conceal her sin in the only way she could. May a merciful God judge her more kindly than the army board of inquiry has done.

My copy cuts off in the middle of the next paragraph, calling for "the one who caused all her trouble" to be identified and called to account for his actions.

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: "One More Unfortunate", Fort Collins Courier, April 5, 1919, reprint from The San Francisco Star

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