James W. Aiken

James W. AikenabortionistsmaleHarriet “Hattie” Reece was a 25-year-old primary school teacher in Browning, Illinois. Her husband, Frank, was also a teacher and principal at the school where Hattie taught. They had been married two and a half years in 1899, when the events unfolded that ended Hattie’s life that March.

Doctor John (Or James) W. Aiken, for example, had been the eminent and only physician for over thirty years in Tennessee, Illinois, when he was prosecuted for murder by abortion in 1899. Small towns could lose their only physician in cases like these. In this particular case, Aiken was convicted but appealed his case to the state Supreme Court of Illinois, which reversed the conviction and remanded it back. I do not know if he was retried. Aiken v. the People , 183 Ilk 215 (1899); Transcript of Aiken v. the People , 183 Ilk 215 (1899), Case Files, vault no. 8105, Supreme Court of Illinois, Record Series 901.