SUMMARY: Vivian Grant, age 23, died on January 21, 1961 from complications of an abortion perpetrated in New York by Dr. Mandel Friedman.

VivianGrant.jpg
Vivian Grant

On January 21, 1961, 52-year-old Dr. Mandel M. Friedman contacted a Queens undertaker, asking him to arrange burial for 23-year-old Vivian Grant of New York. Friedman told the undertaker that Vivian, unmarried and working as a book editor at Dell Publishing, had died of a heart ailment.

The undertaker notified authorities, who determined that although Vivian had not been pregnant, Friedman had attempted to perform an abortion on her, causing her death. Friedman was charged with homicide and falsifying a death certificate.

Vivian had told the baby's father that she believed she was pregnant on January 13. He offered to marry her, but they decided to postpone marriage and arrange an abortion instead.

They went to Friedman's office on the morning of January 21, and the boyfriend paid $800 for the abortion. He left Vivian with the doctor. When he returned at 2 p.m., Friedman told him that Vivian had died, and returned the abortion fee.

An autopsy showed that air bubbles had entered Vivian's blood stream during the abortion attempt, which triggered clotting problems, causing her to bleed to death.

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Mandel Friedman
Friedman resurfaced late the following year, while still awaiting trial in Vivian's death. He was charged with homicide in the September 11, 1962 death of Barbara C. Covington, age 35, a Florida socialite.

Vivian's abortion was typical in that it was performed by a doctor, as was the case with perhaps 90% of criminal abortions.


In the 1960s, we see the 20th Century downward trend in abortion mortality resumed -- until a brief upturn starting in 1968, when some states first started loosening their abortion laws. For more, see Abortion Deaths in the 1960's.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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Sources:


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