Justin L. Mitchell

Mary Schwartz asked Marie Hansen, a coworker at the Illinois Meat Company in Chicago, to help her arrange an abortion. Marie told Mary that she would try to help the best she could. That same day, a Monday, Marie took Mary to Dr. Justin L. Mitchell’s office south of Chicago’s meatpacking district. Marie had undergone an abortion at Mitchell’s hands three years earlier, and, telling him that her friend “wants to get fixed up,” she negotiated a discount from the usual price of $50 to $30. Marie co-signed on a $25 loan, and lent Mary $5 “in dimes” from her own money. Mary died in mid-May, 1934.
Mitchell went on to be implicated in two other abortion deaths: Alice Haggin and Mary Nowalowski.

Mitchell was born April 3, 1878 in Napoleon, Ohio, the son of Amos Mitchell. He died May 8, 1941, in Chicago, and was buried in St. Louis.[2]
Though Mitchell had served on the staff of Deaconess Hospital[3] he committed abortions at the Michigan Boulevard Sanitarium, of which he was the head.[4]

JLMitchell.jpgInterestingly, Mitchell and his wife, Della, sued each other for divorce in March of 1911, each accusing the other of infidelity.[5] Later evidence does point to Mitchell as sexually troublesome: in 1922, Mathilde Benkhardt sued Mitchell for $25,000, alleging that when she was a student nurse at Deaconess, Mitchell came up to her as she was attending a patient in the hospital nursery, took her in his arms and tried to kiss her. When she rebuffed him,she said, he slapped her, and arranged for her to be dismissed from the hospital. She was able to be reinstated. Mitchell, Benkhardt’s attorney asserted, was a reputed “debaucher of women.”[6]

  1. ^ Leslie Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime
  2. ^ Cook County Death Records
  3. ^ “Alleges Doctor Tried to Kiss Her, Asks $25,000,” Chicago Tribune, Jan. 10, 1922
  4. ^ Leslie Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime
  5. ^ Chicago Tribune, 6 May, 1911
  6. ^ “Alleges Doctor Tried to Kiss Her, Asks $25,000,” Chicago Tribune, Jan. 10, 1922; $20,000 to Nurse for Medic’s Kiss,” Chicago Tribune, Feb. 24, 1923