SUMMARY: Velma Callahan, age 23, died on January 7, 1951, from complications of an abortion perpetrated by a lay abortionist, either Tess Truitt or John Rudick, in Atlantic City, NJ.

Velma Callahan, a 23-year-old waitress, died in her Atlantic City, New Jersey apartment on January 7, 1951, from complications of a criminal abortion.

VelmaCalahanRichmondINPalladium-Item19Jan1951.pngInvestigating her death led to the breakup of a large-scale abortion mill in Atlantic City on January 19. Detectives found evidence that at during 1950 least 45 abortions had been perpetrated in a house connected with the ring. The couple charged about $400 for an abortion.

Police arrested a middle-aged couple, Tess Truitt and John Rudick, for running the abortion ring. The couple kept abortion records that went back to 1945.

Somehow the pair had also managed to compile a list of every pregnant woman in southern New Jersey. Police did not reveal how the couple got the names.