Thursday, June 17, 2021

Illegal abortion leads to circle of tragedy

     An abortion cost $50 in Chicago in 1941.
     Kinda cheap—$800 in today’s dollars—considering it was an illegal procedure, performed in secret, condemned by the church at a time when organized religion had even more of a stranglehold on American society than it does now, which is really saying something.
     Chicago women back then had abortions anyway, for the same reasons they do now, ranging from medical, financial and emotional necessity. It was a fairly routine procedure in 1941. Your doctor would jot down an address—190 N. State—and you’d hurry to the Gabler Clinic on the 6th floor.
     The Gabler clinic had been open since the early 1930s, mostly. It would be periodically raided, only to open again. Leading to the question of how this criminal procedure was performed an average of five times a day in the heart of the Loop for almost a decade.
     Therein lies the tale.
     One reason religious zealots have such success restricting abortion is that it is seen as affecting only women. So they marshal their zombie army of imaginary babies and send them off to do battle against actual living people—mostly young, poor women—and thus approach the New Jerusalem, in their own minds.
     While it is true that women are the primary beneficiaries of abortions, and suffer most when abortion is restricted, they are not the only victims of criminalizing a highly popular medical procedure. With the U.S. Supreme Court taking a case arising from Mississippi’s draconian abortion laws, and Texas’ “Heartbeat Law” criminalizing abortion after six weeks, now seems an apt moment to remember a case that rocked Chicago 80 years ago. A taste of what’s in store for us should the faith-addled fanatics Donald Trump placed on the high court overturn Roe v. Wade.
     They called it “The Million Dollar Abortion Ring,” for the nearly 20,000 abortions, at $50 a pop, performed at the Gabler Clinic. The clinic went from open secret to front page news after Detective Daniel Moriarity, a 15-year veteran of the state’s attorney police force, went to 4367 N. Lake Park, pushed past a maid, and fired five shots into what he thought was the sleeping form of Ada Martin, who ran the clinic.
     It wasn’t Martin. It was her daughter, Jennie, 24.

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  1. Interesting that Captain Dan "Tubbo" Gilbert was involved, as he was totally corrupt.
    The corruption came out in the 1950 election for US Senator & it caused Democrat Scott W. Lukas, who was the Senate majority leader, to lose to Dirksen.

  2. Good lord! I had no idea about this story. Once again, thx NS.

  3. Being against abortion is zero calorie righteousness. Without any effort beyond having a thought, you can look in the mirror and feel superior to everyone else. Convenient for moralists.

    I've solved the problem of abortion, by the way. If you are against abortion, don't get one. Wasn't that simple?

  4. "If you are against abortion, don't have one." I actually said that to some of those "You MUST have that baby!" protestors, who were blocking the sidewalks while I was trying to patronize a store.

    The looks I received! Total shock and horror, and even expressions of complete amazement. It was as if the idea had never even occurred to least not until I got right into their faces and spoke those words out loud. Their stunned reactions made my wife laugh.

  5. This is a religious issue for many. What makes no sense to me is how anti-abortion folks think that the divine plan is for every fertilized egg to become a person and that we must not interfere with that plan, when half of fertilized eggs are "naturally" lost. And there are so many miscarriages for those who wish to have a child.

    Medical interventions are considered blessings when it comes to interfering with the "natural" outcome of diseases. But in this particular instance, interfering with the natural state of affairs must be prohibited.

    The way this affects women's health and autonomy but has been promulgated by religious bodies established and run by men provides all the clues one needs to understand that concern for a divine plan is not really the driving factor, at all.

  6. In addition to not having an abortion if you disprove, disregard the injunctions of the Church and avail yourself of the most efficient birth control you can find. I like what H.L. Mencken said about the Church approving of the rhythm method: "It is now lawful for Catholic women who wish to avoid giving birth to resort to arithmetic, although they are still denied resort to physics and chemistry."


  7. Nat Hentoff was a great civil libertarian. He changed is mind about abortion when at least one woman wanted an abortion because the fetus had spina bifida. It is the first article. There was a supreme court case about this.

    1. From the article cited: "The 'slippery slope' business began to make sense to me then," Mr. Hentoff said.

      Equating "early death as a management option for infants" with a first-trimester abortion seems like talking about a slope on a different mountain, but I guess some find that debatable.

      Here's a different slippery slope. When 5 of the 6 Roman Catholics on the Supreme Court decide for the large majority of citizens who aren't Catholic that abortion should be illegal, will the legality of "artificial" birth control -- also ruled out by their church -- be up for reconsideration next? Providing insurance to pay for it has already been a major bone of contention, so...

  8. Your a single woman. You have young kids. You have a minimum wage job. You are not making ends meet.
    Sure, you shouldn’t have gotten pregnant but you did.
    You’re beating yourself up but you know you can’t bring another child into the world.
    What is the anti-choice solution?


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