Beulah Rehm

Beulah Rehm20s, 19101919, chicago, illinois, illegaldoctorArthur Blunt.jpgDr. Arthur BluntOn January 13, 1915, 23-year-old motion picture actress Beulah Rehm died at Wesley Hospital after an abortion perpetrated at Dr. Arthur L. Blunt’s Chicago practice.

Beulah had been at the Plymouth Hotel when she took ill on Christmas Eve. Her doctor, Dr. Andre Stapler, sent her to the hospital. Stapler and other staff were suspicious and questioned Beulah about the cause of her problems. She admitted to Springer, and then to police, that she had gone to Blunt’s West Harrison Street practice three times during the week of December 13 for abortion attempts.

Blunt was brought to the hospital, where he was identified by Beulah as her abortionist. blunt denied ever having seen Beulah before.

Beulah’s husband, Arthur Rehm, said that he and Beulah had been married about a year and a half, and Beulah had seemed happy. They’d recently moved to Chicago and had taken up residence at the hotel.

Blunt was held by the Coroner but the case never went to trial.

Blunt had committed the abortion on Beulah while still out on bail for the 1913 abortion death of Frances Odochowski.
Aged 61 at the time of Beulah’s death, Blunt had also been arrested at least twice for drug trafficking.

Note, please, that with overall public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919

During the first two thirds of the 20th Century, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality, including mortality from abortion. Most researches attribute this plunge to improvements in public health and hygiene, the development of blood transfusion techniques, and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

external image MaternalMortality.gifexternal image MaternalMortality.gif

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

Beulah Rehm Chicago_Daily_Tribune_Thu__Jan_14__1915_.jpgSources:

Beulah Rehm_Day_Book_Thu__Jan_14__1915_.jpg

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