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Maggie Gibbons, Illegal Abortion Death
Died after abortion by boyfriend
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A St. Louis grand jury indicted Charles P. Emerich in the abortion death of Maggie Gibbons. They found that Emerich had performed an abortion on Maggie on December 30, 1877, in St. Louis, using instruments. Maggie languished, finally dying of her injuries on January 3 of 1878.

Emerich was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter in Maggie's death, and was sentenced to five years in prison.


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

Source: 87 Mo. 110, 1885 WL 165 (Mo.) Supreme Court of Missouri.THE STATE, Appellant,v.EMERICH.October Term, 1885.

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