Margaret Jenickes

Margaret Jenickes19101919, 20s, chicago, illinois, illegaldoctorOn January 15, 1915, 22-year-old Margaret Jenickes (or Jennicks or Janniches) died in Chicago.

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Somebody tipped off the coroner that there was something fishy about Margaret’s death. “Mourners over the girl’s body were surprised by a visit from Coroner’s Physician Springer. He performed an autopsy and changed the death report from dilation of the heart to peritonitis.”

The cornoer’s office declared that the infection had been caused by an abortion presumably perpetrated by Dr. C.A. Erickson.

Erickson was charged with murder; a man named Joseph Martin was also held for manslaughter. Though Erickson was indicted on February 1, the case never went to trial because the men were exonerated by a Grand Jury. No other suspect in Margaret’s death is mentioned in my sources. I’ve been unable to determine why Erickson was a suspect.

Margaret was a native of Chicago, a telephone operator and daughter of German immigrants Michael and Katherine (Baierwalter) Janniches.

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.

In fact, due to improvements in addressing these problems, maternal mortality in general (and abortion mortality with it) fell dramatically in the 20th Century, decades before Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion across America.

For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.

external image MaternalMortality.gif

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

Margaret Jennickes Suburbanite_Economist_Fri__Feb_12__1915_.jpgSources:

  • Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database
  • The Day Book, Chicago, Feb. 11, 1915
  • “Two Held in Girl’s Death,” The (Chicago) Day Book, Jan. 21, 1915
  • The Suburbanite Economist, Feb. 12, 1915
  • “Just Five Month’s Abortion Toll,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 29, 1915

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MargaretJennicksdeathCert.jpg

ChicagoAbortionDeathsChiDailyTrib29May1915.png


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