Grace Wolf

Grace Wolf19101919, iowa, illegaldoctorSUMMARY: Grace Wolf died on December 3, 1917 in Dubuque, Iowa after an abortion perpetrated by Dr. C. Allen Snyder.

CAllenSnyderPic.png
Grace Wolf, a young married woman, traveled from her home in Lansing, Iowa to the office of Dr. C. Allen Snyder (pictured) in Dubuque on November 19, 1917. She arrived at about 8:00 in the evening. Shortly after leaving, she took ill. By November 29 she was in the hospital, and her condition deteriorated until her death on December 3.

The defense argued that Grace was unhappy about her pregnancy and had made several attempts to abort before going to Dr. Snyder. Dr. Snyder said that she was already suffering from fever and septicemia when she arrived at his office, and that he treated her only briefly.

Grace had made a dying declaration, written up by an attorney and signed by her, indicating that Dr. Snyder had performed an abortion on her. However, her father was called as a defense witness, and he said that Grace recanted her statement before her death. Other witnesses said that Grace had a cough for several days before her visit to Dr. Snyder.

The autopsy had found evidence of recent pregnancy and a puncture in Grace’s uterus.

Dr. Snyder was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years at hard labor. His conviction was overturned on appeal.

He was also charged with murder in the 1918 abortion death of Mrs. Frank Gagne of East Dubuque, Illinois.

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.

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


GraceWolfWichita_Beacon_Thu__Apr_4__1918_.jpgSources:

  • State v. Snyder, 188 Iowa 1150, 177 N.W. 77, 10 A.L.R. 309
  • “Doctor is Charged With Serious Crime,” Ireton Ledger, Dec.r 6, 1917
  • “Dubuque Physician Refused New Trial,” Lake Park News, Oct. 17, 1918
  • “Hawkeye State News,” Maurice Times, Oct. 17, 1918
  • “Dubuque Physician is Placed on Trial,” Sioux County Index, Apr. 5, 1918
  • “Doctor Found Guilty of Illegal Activity,” Wichita Beacon, Apr.l 4, 1918

GraceWolfSioux_County_Index_Fri__Apr_5__1918_.jpg

GraceWolfMaurice_Times_Thu__Oct_17__1918_.jpg

GraceWolfLake_Park_News_Thu__Oct_17__1918_.jpg

GraceWolfIreton_Ledger_Thu__Dec_6__1917_.jpg


  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