Lavern Perez

Lavern Perez, age 22, died at her home in Chicago on January 28, 1943.

Laverne Perez ChiTrib July 3 1943.png
Dr. Henry Gross, age 58, was found guilty of manslaughter by abortion. He later won a new trial.

The prosecution presented Gross as having a dual personality. Gross had a respectable medical practice. However, after a Dr. Ira Willits died, Gross set up shop in Willits’s old office as an abortionist under Willit’s name. It was at this office, Lavern’s mother-in-law, Olga Perez, testified.

Mrs. Perez said that Lavern had paid an office attendant $60 for the abortion.

The day after Lavern died, Mrs. Perez said, Dr. Gross appeared at her home with a gun, which he used to threaten both her and her son. They wrestled the gun away from him, whereupon he begged for the weapon back so he could kill himself.

Gross had insisted that he’d only been treating Lavern for a cold. However, he was also investigated for the February 20, 1943 abortion death of Dorothy Webber, age 20.


  • “Jurors Convict Physician of Abortion Death,” Chicago Tribune, Jul. 3, 1943
  • “Dr. Gross Wins New Trial in Abortion Case,” Chicago Daily Tribune, Oct. 23, 1943