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Jessie Wicks, Illegal Abortion Death
Sought abortion from Mrs. M. J. Bord
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Jessie Wicks, aka Mary Lee, "found herself in a peculiar situation" in February of 1854.

She was advised to go to Mrs. M. J. Bord of Troy for an abortion. Mrs. Bord's profession is not given.

Jessie went to Mrs. Bord's home, "and was put under a course of treatment which, after the most intense suffering, terminated in her decease. The circumstances of the case are of so revolting a nature, that to patricularizse in a newspaper, would be the height of impropriety."

An investigation ensued.

Illegal by Doctors Illegal by Paramedical Illegal by Amateurs Self Induced

I have no information on overall maternal mortality, or abortion mortality, in the 19th century. I imagine it can't be too much different from maternal and abortion mortality at the very beginning of the 20th Century.

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 on this era, see Abortion Deaths in the 19th Century.

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


Sources: "Arrest of Madam Restell", Brooklyn Eagle, February 13, 1854

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