SUMMARY: Mary Hermann, age 19, died November 3, 1876 after an abortion perpetrated in New York city by midwife Johanna White.
On November 2, 1876, 19-year-old Mary Hermann (or Heinemann) was admitted to New York’s Mount Sinai hospital, suffering from compilations of an abortion. She died the following day, November 3.
There, Mary gave a deathbed statement asserting that the abortion had been perpetrated by midwife Johanna White, a German immigrant. Mary was herself a German immigrant, and had learned of White’s abortion business from an advertisement in the Staais-Zeitung.
Mary’s deathbed statement reads:
I believe I will not live, and make this statement. I was a servant for S. Meltzner, living at 160 East Sixtieth street; I am not a married woman; after I found I was pregnant, I wanted to get rid of the child; I went to Mrs. White, of 209 Allen street, to have an operation performed; I went there on the evening of October 23 and she operated upon me; it pained me very much and I went home; on October 26 I went again to Mrs. White, as I had not been relieved; she then applied a rubber instrument and I left; on the evening of October 27 I went again, as nothing had passed from me; she again used instruments; on Saturday evening hemorrhage took place; on Sunday I had a great deal of pain, and last Tuesday Morning Dr. Hirsch came to see me, and attended me, but I did not tell the doctor what was the matter with me; by his advice I was sent to Mount Sinai Hospital this morning; no one was in the room with me except Mrs. White; no one advised me to go to Mrs. White to be operated upon; I read the advertisement in the newspapers; the father of my child is a steward on board of a steamer, and is not now in New York.
Mary said that she was exposing White as her abortionist not out of revenge, but to prevent other young women from entrusting themselves to her.
White already had a reputation as an abortionist. When arrested for Mary’s death she said that she had a vague recollection of Mary coming to her a month earlier requesting an abortion, but insisted that she had refused to perform the abortion.
Mary was the daughter of a respected family in New Haven, Connecticut.
- “Alleged Crime,” National Republican, November 4, 1876
- “Another Malpractice Case,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 19, 1876
- “Death from Malpractice,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 3, 1876