Bessie Orme

SUMMARY: Bessie Orme died in her Chicago home on February 23, 1906 after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. George Fosberg.

GeorgeFosberg.pngDr. George FosbergDr. George F. Fosberg of 5213 Kimbark Avenue in Chicago admitted to having performed an abortion on 26-year-old Bessie Orme. She died in her home at 155 Fifty-Fourth Place on February 23, 1906, leaving her husband, John, a widower.

Fosberg insisted that he’d performed the abortion because it was necessary to save Bessie’s life. He said that he’d instructed her family to take her to a hospital and when they refused to do so he refused to provide further care.

Dr. Frank J. Otis took over her care and was the attending physician at the time of her death. He testified, “I was summoned the day of her death. An examination showed that she was suffering from inflammation of the abdominal organs, and that an operation had been performed. I notified the health department, and when I was asked the contributory causes of death I told of the operation.”

A coroner’s jury was unable to determine whether or not Fosberg had been attempting to save Bessie’s life when he performed the procedure, so the verdict was issued as open. This left Fosberg free in 1916 to be implicated in the abortion death of Pauline Hill. For reasons I’ve been unable to determine, that case never went to trial either.

Fosberg lost his license to practice medicine after being convicted of bank fraud. After his release from prison he opened a boarding house, where he perpetrated a fatal abortion on Geraldine Schuyler in 1944.


  • “Woman’s Death Investigated,” Chicago Inter Ocean, Feb. 26, 1906
  • Open Verdict in Orme Case,” Chicago Inter Ocean, Mar. 1, 1906