Barbara Covington

Barbara Covington1960s, 30s, newyork, illegaldoctorSUMMARY: Barbara Covington, age 35, died on September 11, 1962 after an abortion perpetrated in New York by Dr. Mandel M. Friedman.

BarbaraCovington.pngBarbara Covington
Gynecologist Mandel M. Friedman, age 53, was charged with homicide in the September 11, 1962 death of Barbara Clarke Covington, age 35, a Florida socialite and Chi Omega Sorority sister.

Friedman was out on bail for the death of Vivian Grant.

Barbara, a divorcee, was the daughter of the late DeCarr Dowman Covington Sr., a wealthy Florida citrus grower, and was the sister of the Democratic Florida State Senate nominee D. D. Covington Jr. She had been living with her mother in New York.

A 31-year-old Madison Avenue advertising executive, Franklin Charles Beck, admitted to securing the $1,000 abortion fee and driving Barbara to Friedman’s office.He told police, “I loved her. I wanted to marry her. I did not want her to go through with this thing.” He waited for about an hour while Friedman operated, only to have the doctor come out and announce, “She’s gone.”

Beck initially went along with Friedman’s plan to attribute Barbara’s death to a heart ailment, but when Friedman tried to get an undertaker to arrange for the removal of Barbara’s body, the undertaker reported the case to authorities, who immediately recognized Friedman’s name and suspected illegal activities. Barbara’s body was taken to the morgue at Queens General Hospital for autopsy.

Beck was questioned and offered a 10-page statement. Friedman was questioned by authorities and released on $10,000 bail shortly after midnight, pending completion of the autopsy. He was scheduled to surrender to the Queens District Attorney’s Office. Instead he fled, leading to a 13-state manhunt that ended quickly. Friedman surrendered, accompanied by his attorney and refusing to give any statement other than his name, age, address, and occupation. After legal wrangling, Friedman entered a plea bargain, getting a manslaughter charge dropped and being sentenced to only two to four years at Sing-Sing.

Barbara’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


  1. 1900s
  2. 1910-1919
  3. 1920s
  4. 1930s
  5. 1940s
  6. 1950s
  7. 1960s
  8. 1970s
  9. 1980s
  10. 1990s
  11. 19th century
  12. 2000-2009
  13. 20s
  14. 30s
  15. 40s
  16. NAF
  17. abortifacient
  18. abortion
  19. abortion mill
  20. abortion mortality
  21. abortionists
  22. abortionists — female
  23. abortionists — male
  24. alabama
  25. anesthesia
  26. arizona
  27. black women
  28. botched abortion
  29. california
  30. chicago
  31. colorado
  32. connecticut
  33. cover-up
  34. death
  35. deaths
  36. deception
  37. delay in transport
  38. delay in treatment
  39. district of columbia
  40. dumped body
  41. ectopic
  42. embolism
  43. falsifying forms
  44. fetal indications
  45. florida
  46. former criminal abortionist
  47. george tiller
  48. georgia
  49. hemorrhage death
  50. hospitals
  51. illegal – doctor
  52. illegal – midwife
  53. illegal – nurse
  54. illegal – paramedical
  55. illegal – post roe
  56. illegal – unknown
  57. illegal – untrained
  58. illegal abortion
  59. illinois
  60. inadequate documents
  61. inadequate equipment
  62. inadequate resuscitation
  63. incomplete abortion
  64. indiana
  65. infection
  66. kansas
  67. legal abortion
  68. llinois
  69. louisiana
  70. maryland
  71. massachusetts
  72. maternal indications
  73. maternal mortality
  74. michigan
  75. mills
  76. missouri
  77. mortality
  78. national abortion federation
  79. new jersey
  80. new mexico
  81. new york
  82. north carolina
  83. ohio
  84. oklahoma
  85. pennsylvania
  86. planned parenthood
  87. pre-roe legal
  88. previous misconduct
  89. prostaglandin
  90. quackery
  91. questionable stories
  92. ru-486
  93. rupture
  94. saline
  95. secret abortion
  96. self-induced
  97. suicide
  98. teens
  99. texas
  100. wisconsin