On April 13, 1909, Stella Kelly Lowery, age 28, died of septicemia at a hospital in Chicago, from an abortion that had been perpetrated around March 5. Stella, a waitress, was divorced and was identified by her maiden name in the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database.
, age 59, sometimes identified as a doctor and sometimes as a midwife, was charged with murder by abortion by a coroner's jury.
Achtenberg was also implicated in the 1907 abortion death of
and the 1909 abortion deaths of
. In 1918, at the age of 69, she was arrested for performing an abortion on Miss Ruth G. Pickling,
] but acquitted, going on to be arrested for the 1920 abortion death of
and the 1924 death of
. I can find no record that she was ever incarcerated, which is hardly surprising, given how hospitable Chicago has typically been to the many doctors and midwives who perpetrated abortions in the city.
Note, please, that with general public health 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 about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see
Abortion Deaths 1900-1909
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see
The Bad Old Days of Abortion
Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database
abortionists -- female
abortionists -- male
delay in transport
delay in treatment
district of columbia
former criminal abortionist
illegal - doctor
illegal - midwife
illegal - nurse
illegal - paramedical
illegal - post roe
illegal - unknown
illegal - untrained
national abortion federation
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