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Jennie Clark, Criminal Abortion Death
Died after abortion in Chicago
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Jennie P. Clark's body was found stuffed into a trunk in Lynn, New York.

Dr. C. C. Goodrich, a Boston woman, was arrested as the abortionist. Dr. Kimball, who lived in the same house as Jennie, was arrested as an accessory. Mr. Altin M. Adams, at whose house Jennie worked, was arrested as secondary accessory, as were a mother and daughter living in the house where Jennie had died.

On February 12, Jennie left her home in the Highlands. She was seen shortly thereafter going into the home of Dr. Goodrich, which she leased from Dr. James L. Simons, who passed himself off as a dentist but was actually the owner of several abortion mills. The abortion was evidently performed at Goodrich's practice. She left on February 15 and went to the home where the mother and daughter cared for her. She delivered her dead fetus and seemed to be on the mend. She took a sudden turn for the worse and died on February 25. Dr. Kimball as well as Dr. Goodrich were informed when Jennie's health started deteriorating, but they didn't arrive until after her death.

They packed up the body into the trunk, with Goodrich for some reason removing the dead girl's nose with dental forceps. The next evening, Kimball brought it to Lynn and looked for someplace to dump it. Most of the streams were frozen. He finally tossed it off the Foxbill Bridge into the Saugus River.


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:
  • "Female Fiends", Brooklyn Eagle, July 16, 1879; "A Murder Mystery Solved", Winona Republic, July 16, 1879

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