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Margaret Louise Smith

Twenty-five-year-old Margaret Smith traveled from Michigan to New York for a safe and legal abortion because she had been exposed to rubella. Her abortionist, Jesse Ketchum, had run a criminal abortion practice in Michigan, before carpetbagging to Buffalo when New York legalized abortion on demand.

Ketchum performed a vaginal hysterotomy on Margaret at 10:30 the morning of June 16, 1971. Margaret was then left virtually unattended until her boyfriend retured at 2:00. He found Margaret unresponsive, and begged Ketchum and his staff to do something.

Paramedics were summoned, but they were unable to revive Margaret. She was taken to a hospital across the street from Ketchum's office, where she was pronouced dead on arrival.

Margaret's vagina had been sutured, but a laceration in her uterus and cervix had not been repaired. She had bled to death.

Ketchum was charged with criminally negligent homicide in Margaret's death. Before his case went to trial, he performed a similar abortion on Carole Schaner of Ohio. Carol suffered similar injuries had bled to death in her motel room after Ketchum discharged her.

Ketchum was convicted on October 26, 1973, despite the fact that renouned abortionist Milan Vuitch (who had challenged the District of Columbia abortion law) testified on his behalf.

Vuitch himself, like Ketchum, had kept his nose clean as a criminal abortionist, then gone on to kill two legal abortion patients. Wilma Harris and Georgianna English both died under Vuitch's care. Benjamin Munson, likewise, had a clean record in his criminal abortionist then went on to kill two women in his supposedly safer legal practice -- Linda Padfield and Yvonne Mesteth.


Source: US District Court, Western New York, Ketchum v. Ward, No. Civ-75-79, 422 F. Supp. 934 (1976)

Abortion Deaths

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