Illegal abortion leads to circle of tragedy


An abortion cost Chicago $ 50 in 1941.

A bit cheap – $ 800 in today’s dollars – given that this was an illegal, secretive procedure condemned by the church at a time when organized religion had even more power. grip on American society than it does now, which really does mean something.

The Chicago women at the time had aborted anyway, for the same reasons they do now, ranging from medical to financial need to emotional need. It was a fairly routine procedure in 1941. Your doctor wrote down an address – 190 N. State St. – and you hurried to the Gabler Clinic on the 6th floor.

The Gabler Clinic had been open since the early 1930s, for the most part. It would be periodically searched, then reopened. Hence the question of how this criminal procedure has taken place on average five times a day in the heart of the Loop for nearly a decade.

This is where the story lies.

One of the reasons religious fanatics succeed in restricting abortion is that it is seen to only affect women. So they gather their zombie army of imaginary babies and send them off to fight against real living people – mostly poor young women – and thus approach New Jerusalem, in their own minds.

While it is true that women are the primary beneficiaries of abortions and suffer the most when abortion is restricted, they are not the only victims of the criminalization of a popular medical procedure. With the United States Supreme Court seized with a case stemming from Mississippi’s draconian abortion laws and Texas ‘heartbeat law’ criminalizing abortion after six weeks, now seems the time to remember. ‘a case that rocked Chicago 80 years ago. A taste of what lies ahead if the faith-hungry fanatics Donald Trump has brought to the High Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

They called it “The Million Dollar Abortion Ring” for the nearly 20,000 abortions, at $ 50 a piece, performed at the Gabler Clinic. The clinic went from open secrecy to the front page after Detective Daniel Moriarity, a 15-year veteran of the state attorney’s police force, visited 4367 N. Lake Park, passed a maid and fired five shots into what he believed to be the sleeping form of Ada Martin, who ran the clinic.

It wasn’t Martin. It was his daughter, Jennie, 24.

Martin was paying Moriarity $ 100 per month, part of the corrupt network required to provide an illegal public service. He could deflect the local heat, but the federal authorities were interested in collecting tax on that million dollars. Hoping to motivate him further, Martin threatened to take Moriarity with her, and the shooting had been his attempt to avoid that.

The death of the sleeping young woman was just a ripple in an ever wider circle of human wreckage. Moriarity’s wife suffered a nervous breakdown during her arrest. A doctor involved in the clinic, Dr. Henry J. Millstone, took poison after being charged. As he died, he wrote letters exposing the ring. Millstone also wrote one to his wife, Emily, urging him to “keep your chin up”. She drank ammonia instead and died too. Two deputy state prosecutors were also found on Gabler’s payroll and fired. Moriarity was sentenced to life imprisonment and died in Joliet in 1946.

The dream of eliminating abortion is a fantasy of the same people who would also eliminate sex, if only they could, or at least appoint guardians to dictate to you how, when, why, and with whom you do it. With that door closed, most of the time the fight against abortion is what they have left, not realizing that abortion has been a reality since ancient times and is not going to go away. The only choice is whether abortion is legal, safe, and available, or illegal, unsafe, and difficult to obtain.

I wondered how the $ 50 in 1941 compared to the cost of abortion today. I assume that on average $ 1,600 to $ 2,400, between double and triple in current dollars what it cost in 1941, the difference being made up by the increased complexity and cost of the technology. medical. Hoping to do better than guesswork, I reached out to Planned Parenthood of Illinois. Either they don’t know or they won’t say it, apparently it’s complicated. I pressed, but they didn’t even whisper a fork or a ballpark number. No wonder the good guys lose, when they can’t spit out a simple stat like that.


About Hector Hedgepeth

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