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In December of 1921, Belle Keehn died at the Chicago Lying-In Hospital from an abortion perpetrated by an unknown doctor in late November. Documents are unclear as to how it was determined that the perpetrator was a doctor.

In February of 1925, Nina Ruth Pierce, a 22-year-old student, died at the Chicago Lying-In Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion believed to have been performed that day by Dr. Lucy Hagenow.

Dr. Joseph B. DeLee, founder of Chicago Lying-In Hospital
Dr. Joseph B. DeLee, founder of Chicago Lying-In Hospital
Chicago Lying-in Hospital was founded by Joseph Bolivar DeLee, who was dismayed over current obstetric practice, including doctors delivering babies without even washing their hands. In January of 1895, he used donations to rent four rooms at the corner of Maxwell Street and Newberry Avenue, where he soon opened the Chicago Lying-in Dispensary, an outpatient maternity clinic, where he trained medical students as well as provided care for poor women.

In 1899, the dispensary grew into a 15-bed hospital in a remodeled house on Ashland Boulevard, where Dr. DeLee established the first "incubator station" -- a precursor of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) -- in the United States.

A funding drive resulted in the opening of a larger hospital, with an isolation area for infectious patients, in 1917.

As the hospital's reputation grew, funds were raised and a new hospital built on the grounds of the Medical School of the University of Chicago, opening in May of 1931. In 1938, the hospital merged with the University Clinics.

Clearly, Chicago Lying-In Hospital was no seedy abortuarium, but a reputable hospital where women would receive superior care. It is highy unlikely that anybody there would risk the reputation of the hospital by performing illegal abortions there, or that the hospital would risk its reputation by having an abortionist on staff. Any abortions performed at that location would have been intended to try to save the mother's life, and would therefore have been legal.