Malachy DeHenre

Malachy DeHenreabortionistsmaleLeigh Ann Stephens Alford, age 34, underwent a safe and legal abortion at the hands of Dr. Malachy DeHenre at Summit Medical Center of Alabama, a National Abortion Federation member clinic, in late November of 2003. Leigh Ann was discharged from the clinic 20 minutes after her abortion, according to a lawsuit filed by her husband. Within six hours, he said, he called the facility to report that Leigh Ann was suffering pain and fever. She died about 18 hours after the clinic had sent her home. Death was attributed to hemorrhagic shock from an unrecognized uterine perforation.

DeHenre’s medical license was suspended in Mississippi and Alabama after the death. DeHenre, age 53, also performed abortions at New Woman Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as his own Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization.

Alabama suspended DeHenre’s license as of July 28. The Mississippi suspension was expedited, rather than addressed in a board meeting scheduled for September 16.

An Associated Press article quotes Dr. W. Joseph Burnett, executive director of the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure: “We couldn’t wait another day to take action. He won’t be practicing in Mississippi.”
The Alabama medical board concluded that DeHenre’s practice was conducted in such a way as to “endanger the health of patients,” and found that he had committed “repeated malpractice.”

DeHenry was also investigated after an abortion he performed in March of 2003. That patient began to hemorrhage and was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she underwent a total hysterectomy.

Mahlon Cannon

Mahlon Cannonabortionists, abortionistsmaleMahlonCannon.pngDr. Mahlon CannonDonna Kay Heim, age 20, went to Her Medical Clinic in August of 1986, accompanied by her sister. Donna told staff that she had asthma, and she noted this on her forms when she filled them out. Despite this pre-existing condition, a nurse anesthetist administered general anesthesia for her safe and legal abortion. Donna started to have difficulty breathing, but Mahlon Cannon continued with the procedure for five more minutes before helping the nurse anesthetist to try to restore Donna’s breathing.

Donna’s sister, who was in the waiting room, became alarmed at the intense staff activity she noticed, and questioned a staffer about her sister. She was reassured that Donna was fine. The sister saw an ambulance pull up to the building and stepped outside, where she observed her sister being transferred into the emergency vehicle. Donna’s sister followed the ambulance to a nearby hospital, which summoned the comatose young woman’s parents.

Donna died the next day without regaining consciousness. An investigation was sparked, and an administrative law judge ruled that Cannon was negligent in continuing with the abortion despite the patient’s respiratory distress. The judge also found that Cannon often failed to do medical exams, take medical histories, or administer standard tests prior to abortions.

Maggie Doe

SUMMARY: “Maggie” died in the early 1940s after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. Emil Gleitsmann of Chicago.

While awaiting trial for the abortion death of Marie O’Malley, Dr. Emil Gleitsman was also held culpable during an inquest into the abortion death of a woman I call Maggie Doe. He was convicted in murder in Marie’s death and sentenced to 14 years in prison. I have been unable to identify Maggie or get any further information about her death.

Gleitsman was also implicated in the abortion deaths of:

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  • “Convict Doctor of Murder in Abortion Case,” Chicago Tribune, Oct. 31, 1942

Maggie Becker

Maggie BeckerabortionistsfemaleIn early January, 1901, Mrs. Julia K. Pettinger (alt. Juliet K.Pettinger) died in her home from an abortion performed there that day. Dr. Maggie Becker was arrested April 24, based on a coroner’s verdict that day.

Becker was held to grand jury, tried, convicted, and sentenced to 14 years in Joilet Penitentiary.

Madaline Motgna

Madaline MotgnaabortionistsfemaleMrs. Ida Prochnow, a 35-year-old German-born woman, died in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Chicago on in February of 1906 from an abortion performed earlier that day.

Midwife Madaline Motgna was arrested in the death.

M. T. Summerlin

M. T. Summerlinabortionists, abortionistsmaleIn February of 1919, W. G. Waters and M. T. Summerlin performed an abortion on 24-year-old Viola Estelle Parr with instruments of some sort, causing her subsequent death on March 1. I determined that both men were physicians, with Summerlin accused of being the father of Viola’s baby and having allowed Waters to abort the child in his office.

M. R. Perlstein

On December 14, 1916, 19-year-old Eleanor Dillon, who worked as a clerk, died at Chicago’s Columbus Hospital from a criminal abortion perpetrated by Dr. M.R. Perlstein that day. Perlstein was arrested December 15, and Michael Schackman and Abraham Kruchersky were held as accessories. Perlstein was acquitted on May 18, 1918.

Luis Barquet

Marina Deschapell, age 34, went to the Miami abortion facility at 620 SW 1st Street for a safe and legal six to eight week abortion on August 17, 1978. Eduardo F. Elias administered Valium and Xylocaine for the abortion.
Immediately after the procedure, Elias noticed that Marina was not breathing. He initiated CPR and an emergency team was summoned. The ambulance crew found Marina with no signs of life.
Although the medical examiner did not attribute Marina’s death directly to the abortion, police noted that the clinic, owned by Luis Bulas Barquet, was not equipped with any emergency equipment other than an air bag.

Barquet, an unlicensed doctor from Cuba, was a known criminal abortionist. After perpetrating some 11,000 criminal abortions in Cuba during the Batista regime, many of them on Florida women. He went to Florida as a refugee. There, he was arrested for abortion on April 5, 1961.He admitted that he’d been perpetrating between five and ten abortions per day in Miami motel rooms, charging $150 to $300, depending on how much he could get from a particular patient. He earned enough money in a seven-month period to buy a $25,000 home in Coral Gables, where he lived with his wife and two children.He was arrested in his car, which contained abortion equipment.(“Abortion Specialist Arrested,” The Miami News, April 6, 1961)

He resurfaced again in New York, where he was indicted for abortion in February of 1965. On June 30 of that same year, police raided his home in North Bergen, New Jersey, where they found three abortion patients. Barquet offered a bribe to the officers, who agreed to meet him at Kennedy Airport. Barquet, however, had notified the police of this incident of corruption, slipping away while the cops were arrested. (Sexual Blackmail: A Modern History, Angus McLaren, Harvard University Press, 2002)

Lucy Kozolwski

Lucy Kozolwskiabortionists, abortionistsfemaleOn September 26, 1922, 35-year-old homemaker Mary Cybulski, a Polish immigrant, died at her Chicago home from complications of a criminal abortion performed there that day. On November 15, Lucy Kozolwski, whose profession is not given, was indicted for felony murder in Mary’s death.

Lucy Hagenow

Lucy Hagenowabortionists, abortionistsfemaleHagenow.jpgLucy / Louise Hagenow was a prolific abortionist during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She was born in Germany, most likely in November of 1848, and immigrated to the US in 1869.

She used the names Louise and Louisa primarily in San Francisco, switching to Lucy some time after having relocated to Chicago. And though she was frequently identified — both by herself and by others — as Mrs. Hagenow, I’ve found no evidence that she ever married.

Hagenow first shows up in American records in the 1878 San Francisco city directory, where she is listed as a physician at 812 Howard Street. Although she was clearly living and working in San Francisco from at least 1877 through 1889, she claimed to have been an 1879 graduate of Missouri Medical College.

HagenowAdSF Chronicle Oct23 1877.pngAd showing Hagenow in San Francisco in 1877
She was licensed in California and Illinois, and perhaps in Missouri and New York as well, but — not surprisingly — when the Chicago Medical Society investigated her they found that there was no Lucy Hagenow ever enrolled in the medical school that supposedly issued her diploma.

She turned up in Santa Clara County, California, where she was arrested in 1885 for practicing medicine without a license. (Pacific Medical and Surgical Journal, January 1886)

The first death attributed to Hagenow was that of Louise Derchow in San Francisco, who died in August of 1886. A total of three trials kept ending in hung juries, the last being in 1888.

Just four months after her case was dismissed, Hagenow was arrested for the death of Annie Dories, and later that month for the death of a woman identified as either Alice or Abbie Richards. Two other people died under

HagenowAdSFChronicls9Jan1884.jpgHagenow’s ad in the San Francisco Chronicle, May 28, 1883
suspicious circumstances that month. Emma Dep died at home after a stay at Hagenow’s practice, but for some reason the coroner decided to believe Emma’s story that the abortion was self-induced. Franz Krone, and elderly man, died as an inpatient at Hagenow’s hospital, and his stash of valuables and cash was never accounted for.

In 1889, the case against Hagenow for Annie Dories’ death was dropped after a third hung jury.

Hagenow_Ad.jpgTypical Hagenow ad in Chicago
Hagenow relocated to Chicago, where she drummed up business with veiled advertisements in Chicago daily papers, a typical one reading, “Dr. Louise Hagenow; licensed physician; expert; twentyseven years; female diseases; a new scientific, painless method; no operation; good results; 330 East Division street, near Wells; 10 to 4, 7 to 8.”

Her ads brought her steady business, and she was implicated in the abortion deaths of Minnie Deering in 1891 and Sophia Kuhn in 1892. Later that same year she was implicated in the abortion death of Emily Anderson.

HagenowTribunePicture.jpgAn elderly Hagenow
Hagenow again made headlines in 1896 with the death of Hannah Carlson, then in 1899 for the death of Marie Hecht.

In spite of her legal troubles, Hagenow was making a good living as an abortionist, attracting attention for being the victim of a home invasion robbery that left her elderly mother or sister, Emma Hagenow (sources disagree as to the relationship) beaten into unconsciousness. The thieves had targeted Hagenow’s home because they knew she had valuable jewels. In a strange twist of fate, the burglar, George H. Jacks, was sentenced in the same courtroom where Hagenow herself was being tried for Hannah Carlson’s death.

A brief hiatus ensued beginning at the end of April, 1900, when Hagenow was sentenced to one year to life in prison for Marie Hecht’s death. She was paroled after serving only a year, and during her next period of freedom was held to the grand jury eleven times for patient deaths, including making headlines for a death a year from 1905 to 1907:

On December 17, 1907, Annie Horvatich’s death finally won Hagenow a trip to Joliet, ans with it a degree of national notoriety, spawning headlines like “Human Monster is Behind Bars” (Bellingham (WA) Herald, November 30, 1907) and “Old Woman Kills Ten Thousand Persons” (Seattle Times, November 30, 1907). This latter headline’s sub-head “Lucy Hagenow of Chicago has Criminal Record that Surpasses Anything of a Similar Nature in World’s History,” was a bit premature.

Though Hagenow “pleaded innocence in the same hysterical manner that had characterized her actions many times when taken before the authorities for similar offenses,” she was sentenced to twenty years, a sentence that lead the Rockford Gazette to declare, “Death Trail is Ended.”

The sigh of relief was premature.

HagenowPic2.pngHagenow was freed from Joliet on October 29, 1917, having served less than half of her sentence. She went straight back to business, landing 22-year-old Pauline Albrecht in the hospital fighting for her life. Pauline, writing in pain in her hospital bed, told police, “I didn’t know what I was doing. A friend told me of her and I went to see her. I just asked for an examination; and she said she must operate.” With no cash on hand, Pauline gave Hagenow a $400 diamond ring.

In her jail cell and pressed by reporters, Hagenow snapped, “I didn’t do anything to her. There wasn’t anything the matter with her. She asked me for advice and I told her to go home and forget it.”

“Yes, I’ve been arrested before — what’s that to you? Yes, I’ve served time in Joliet — why do you blame me for these things? If these fool girls would take care of themselves they wouldn’t have these things done, would they?”

“There’s lot of midwives in Chicago making a living the way I do. I’ve been performing operations for fifty years. Since I got out of prison this last time, though, business is booming. Everybody’s doing it — no one wants babies; they come to us — it’s our business to help them.”

“I didn’t hurt this girl. She went home and caught cold. Then she called me up and told me she had taken some pills. I don’t know anything about that, do I? Why arrest me?”

Perhaps she had been arrested because Pauline’s ring was found in her possession, which certainly corroborated the ailing woman’s story. Fortunately, Pauline survived her ordeal, and Hagenow lay low for a while.

NinaHarding.jpgNina PierceThen, suddenly in 1925, it was as if something snapped and Hagenow began making up for lost time. Five young women lost their lives at Lucy Hagenow’s hands that year: Lottie Lowy, Nina H. Pierce, Jean Cohen, Bridget Masterson, and Elizabeth Welter. Hagenow followed up in 1926 with her final patient death: Mary Moorehead

That makes a total of 17 abortion deaths I could positively identify for which Hagenow was implicated in some way. She served about a year for the death of Marie Hecht, and was incarcerated for the death of Annie Horvatich until 1917. Though she was sentenced to prison for the death of Mary Moorehead, when she appealed the Supreme Court of Illinois ordered a new trial in 1929. The judge, noting that there was no new evidence, dismissed the case, telling Hagenow, “You had better make your peace with God, Lucy Hagenow. I do not think your months on earth are many.”

HagenowPhotoAge82.pngHagenow, the Associated Press noted, was nearly deaf and “may not have heard. She muttered something, and shambled laboriously from the room.”

As near as I can determine, Hagenow died September 26, 1933, in Norwood Park, Cook County, Illinois. Her occupation on her death record was given as “midwife.”

Deaths of her patients must have been a common occurrence, since undertaker W. J. Freckleton, sent by one husband to collect the body of his wife for burial, testified that he had complained to Hagenow how difficult it was to get the body down the narrow staircase; Hagenow had replied that her usual undertaker never had any trouble getting bodies out.


An article entitled, “Another Victim Points Finger at Dr. Hagenow,” Chicago Tribune, January 14, 1922, notes two seriously ill women hospitalized in Chicago:

“As soon as he learned of Dr. Hagenow’s arrest in connection with the Albrecht case, W.H.H. Miller, director of the department of registration and education, ordered an investigation as to how the woman, on parole from the penitentiary for murder, obtained another license to practice. Charges will be filed against her with the state board, which has the power to revoke the license.”

Hagenow Blacklist Daily Alta California Volume 42 Number 13983 13 December 1887.png

  • “Jacks is Sentenced to Joilet,” Chicago Tribune, July 24, 1898
  • “Death Trail is Ended,” Rockford Gazette, April 20, 1908
  • “Maurin Remanded,” Daily Alta California, Volume 42, Number 13983, 13 December 1887
  • Germans to America Passenger Data file, 1850-1897


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Rockford IL Gazette 20 Apr 1908.png