Madlyon McGeehan

Madlyon McGeehan1940s, 20s, newyork, illegaldoctorSUMMARY: Madlyon McGeehan, age 26, died on November 18, 1942, after an abortion perpetrated in New York by Dr. Joseph Nisonoff.

On November 18, 1942, 26-year-old Madlyon McGeehan, an OPA employee who had been living in Washington DC., died at Prospect Hospital in New York of peritonitis after an illegal abortion.

Dr. Joseph Nisonoff, age 58, was arrested for homicide and held on $150,000 bail. His nurse, Camille Ewald, was held on $150,000 bail. His receptionist, Pearl Tense, and Dr. Max J. Weinstein, who was thought to have referred Madeline to Nisonoff, were also arrested.

At the time of Madlyon’s death, Nisonoff was out on bail after being charged with performing another abortion, which the woman survived. During six hours of questioning, he denied any knowledge of Madlyon’s death.

A man identified as Madlyon’s friend, Henry Elters, was held as a material witness on $15,000 bail.

Elters reportedly told Assistant District Attorney James Carney that he had known Madlyon for about seven years, and that they had gone to Nisonoff’s office in Queens on November 13. They gave Ewald $600. She told Elters to “take a walk.” He returned to find Madlyon resting on a couch.

On November 15, Elters was told that Madlyon needed a blood transfusion. She was admitted to Prospect Hospital as Betty McGee. After her death there, she was correctly identified by her sister, Mary, who had come came from the family home at Hazleton, PA, to claim Madlyon’s body.

Nisonoff was sentenced to 5 years in state prison, and Weinstein was sentenced to the city penitentiary.

As a result of the McGeehan case, the New York District Attorney’s office began investigating other possible abortion rings in the city.

Madlyon’s abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.,

During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.
external image Abortion+Deaths+Since+1940.jpg

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


MadylonMcGeehan2.pngSources:

  • New York Times 11-27-42, 12-1-42, 12-2-42, 12-3-42, 3-11-43, 4-1-43, 4-9-43, 1-21-45;
  • Madlyon McGeehan. Find-a-Grave Memorial
  • Associated Press, November 27, 1942
  • “$150,000 Bail Set For Doctor As Girl Dies,” Tuscon Daily Citizen, Nov. 26, 1942
  • “Physician Is Jailed In Death Of Woman,” Modesto Bee and Herald-News, Nov. 26, 1942
  • “NY Doctor Held For Criminal Act,” The Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, Nov. 29, 1942
  • “Death Following Abortion Brings Serious Charges,” Corsicana Daily Sun, Nov. 26, 1942
  • MadlyonMThe_Indiana_Gazette_Thu__Dec_3__1942_.jpg“Hazleton girl, 26, Dead, Doctor And Nurse Held In N.Y.” Mount Carmel Item, Nov. 27, 1942
  • “Probe of N. York Doctors Likely,” Record Argus, Dec. 1, 1942
  • “Arrest Two in Death of Woman,” Evening Independent, Nov. 27, 1942
  • “$150,000 Bail for Physician,” Evening News, Nov. 27, 1942
  • “3 Indicted in Death of Girl After Abortion,” Gazette and Daily News, Dec. 2, 1942
  • “Doctor Held in Abortion Death,” Lubbock (TX) Morning Avalanche, Nov. 27, 1942
  • “Hazelton Girl, 26, Dead, Doctor And Nurse Held In N.Y.” Mount Carmel Item, Nov. 27, 1942
  • “Probe of N. York Doctors Likely,” Record Argus, Dec. 1, 1942
  • “Doctor Held on Grave Charge,” Indiana Gazette, Dec. 3, 1942
  • “Doctor and Nurse Are Facing Trial in Abortion Death,” Waco Daily News, Nov. 27, 1942

MadlynMcGeehan1.png
MadylonMcGeehan3.png

MadlyonMCorsicana_Daily_Sun_Thu__Nov_26__1942_.jpg

MadlyonMMount_Carmel_Item_Fri__Nov_27__1942_.jpg

MadlyonMRecord_Argus_Tue__Dec_1__1942_.jpg

MadlyonMEvening_Independent_Fri__Nov_27__1942_.jpg

MadlyonMEvening_News_Fri__Nov_27__1942_.jpg

MadlyonMGazette_and_Daily_Wed__Dec_2__1942_.jpg

MadlyonMLubbock_Morning_Avalanche_Fri__Nov_27__1942_.jpg

MadlyonMMount_Carmel_Item_Fri__Nov_27__1942_.jpg


MadlyonMRecord_Argus_Tue__Dec_1__1942_.jpg

MadlyonMThe_Waco_News_Tribune_Fri__Nov_27__1942_.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