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Ilene Eagan, Illegal Abortion Death
Died after abortion by dentist W. A. Groebner
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On March 21, 1947, Ilene Eagen was brought to Mankato, Minnesota, to the dental office of W. A. Groebner for an abortion. Court records indicate that Ilene was pressured into the abortion by her paramour, Raymond Older, who refused to marry her and threatened her with bodily harm if she refused an abortion.

After the abortion, Ilene became violently ill and lost consciousness. Groebner and Older failed to seek or provide properly care for the sick woman. Instead, Older took Ilene to his service station in Granada, Minnesota and kept her there through the remainder of the night, into the morning of March 22.

Older allowed Ilene to languish without medical care. She died March 24.

Ilene left a seven-year-old daughter motherless.

Older tried to escape civil liability on the grounds that despite his refusal to marry her, and the threats, Ilene had consented to the abortion and that therefore she was responsible for her own sickness and subsequent death.

Illegal by Doctors Illegal by Paramedical Illegal by Amateurs Self Induced

During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

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

Source: 227 Minn. 154, 34 N.W.2d 700; Supreme Court of Minnesota. True v. Older et al.No. 34682.Nov. 19, 1948. Action by Helen J. True, special administratix of the estate of Ilene Eagen, deceased, against Raymond Older and another for wrongful death

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