SUMMARY: Raisa Trytiak, age 24, died February 8, 1967 after an abortion perpetrated in Snohomish County, Washington by retired construction worker Jack Blight.
Born in Russia and brought to America as an infant, [Raisa Trytiak] grew up in Seattle, graduated from Ballard High School and briefly attended the University of Washington. A year before her death she took a job as a key punch operator with Seattle First-National Bank. Why she sought help from Jack Blight, a 61-year-old construction worker and avid fisherman, is not known. He was a neighbor and family friend. She was almost six months pregnant and the abortion attempt caused an an air embolism that killed her. Why there were marks on her neck that led the coroner to suspect that she had been strangled was not explained in any of the news coverage that followed. Nor was the curious fate of Jack Blight who pled guilty to a charge of manslaughter and took responsibility for dumping the body. Blight was sentenced to probation instead of a long prison term typical in such cases. An article in the Everett Herald suggests that the Snohomish County prosecutor accepted Blight’s claim that someone else had been primarily responsible for the abortion.
— “When Abortion was Illegal (and Deadly): Seattle’s Maternal Death Toll,” Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project
Unlike most abortion-rights sources, the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History project cites sources for its assertions and thus wins my admiration. I might disagree with their conclusions — in this case that legalizing abortion would have fixed the maternal mortality problem — but I respect their research.
In the case of Raisa Trytiak, they cite the Seattle Times (February 8 & 9, 1967, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (February 9 & 10, 1967), and the Everett Herald (May 23, 1967). They even include a clipping from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s February 10, 1967 issue, which noted that Black was held after failing to post $10,000 bail on charges of manslaughter for both Raisa and her unborn child.
- “Probation 20 Years,” Centralia (WA) Daily Chronicle, May 24, 1967