Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Confessions of an Abortion Doctor: Danger Signals Ahead

This book was published in 1939--before birth control. It is the first-person account of a young doctor who provided abortions to women.

Our story continues...


Police found the body of a once-beautiful young blonde girl in the river. She had apparently died as the result of an illegal operation. Detectives took her photograph to all the doctors to see if we could identify her. She had not come to me and I said so, but the police asked me to go to the morgue and look at her.

Eventually she was identified as an out-of-town school teacher. Her mother saw her picture in an old newspaper and claimed the body. If the detail's of the crime were discovered, they were never published. But there was a howl about quack doctors preying on young girls, editorials in the newspapers and one minister preached a sermon on abortionists.

It was comparatively easy to guess what had happened. The girl had gone to a quack and had died as the result of his ignorance and carelessness. Then either her lover or the quack had become frightened at the responsibility and had dumped her body into the river.

...I didn't like to be in a position where detectives called on me when bodies were found.... I resolved to temper my sails to the wind and turn down all such cases for a time.... And the very next day, I had a chance to try my new resolution. A man and woman came into my office.... He meant to marry her if he ever got the divorce. But now she was with child and he was willing to pay for an abortion for her.

The girl didn't seem to be taking any interest in the conversation, and I didn't like that. Unless she were anxious to have an abortion, she might be a trouble-maker.... I told them they had been misinformed if they thought I took such cases. "No registered doctor would do it," I said....

They went away, then, the girl still sullen, the man trying to placate her. I felt sorry for him. It didn't look to me as if that girl had been seduced. I couldn't imagine her believing anything but an affidavit. I could see that he was afraid of her.

He had good reason to be frightened. Two days later the news papers were full of the story. She had shot and killed him. She surrendered meekly to the police and told her story. She worked at a cheap lodging house where the man stayed.... At any rate, when she became with child she demanded immediate marriage. Then, she said, he told her that he was already married. Police discovered that his story of his separation was false. His wife had divorced him several years before....

The girl did not want an abortion... she wanted to hang on to her man and had sense enough to see that if she got rid of the child she'd probably lose him. So she proposed that they go away and live as man and wife and have the child. He refused, saying that it would cost him his job. She found him packing his clothes, and killed him.

I heaved a sigh of relief that I'd followed my intuition. The man already was tired of the affair, and he would have fled as soon as be arranged an abortion. The girl would have raised hell and either followed him or gone to the police. Then the story would have come out and I would have been implicated in a much more dangerous fashion.

As it was, the police came to me and I had a straight story for them. I simply said that the man brought the girl to me, wanted an abortion and I refused to take the case. My Story tallied with that of the girl.

"He promised to marry me and then he wouldn't do that," the girl told the police. "Then he said it would be easy to fix me up, and the first doctor we went to said that he wouldn't do it for anything, that no good doctor would and that it would be dangerous to go to a bad doctor."

So unwittingly my warning against abortions had sent a man to his death. Everything I had said about quacks was true of course, but it had been the one touch needed to set aflame the smouldering wrath of the girl. I had made her lover a liar on all counts.

Read the entire story online at Bank Of Wisdom online library.




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