Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Hideous Vice

The final proceedings in the trail of Dr. Michael Wolff, for abortion, took place in the Court of General Sessions, yesterday, before Judge Bedford. The case, which commenced on Tuesday, was brought to a close with commendable dispatch.

First came the charge of Judge Bedford, which excited favorable comment on the account of its fairness and cogency. Then followed the conviction of Wolff by the jury, and the trial was finally completed by the prompt rendering of the much dreaded sentence by Judge Bedford. The verdict and sentence created a lively feeling of gratification on account of the terrible warning which they gave to professional abortionists, whose hideous vice, which is nothing less than ante-natal murder, has hitherto escaped punishment. They have openly carried on their infamous practice in this City to a frightful extent, and have laughed at the defeat of respectable citizens who have vainly attempted to prosecute them.

.....He was again alone with the deceased, remained but a few minutes, and left. About two hours after the prisoner left the sister perceived an awful odor in the bedroom. When she had occasion to make up the bed, she also found that the bed clothes and the clothes of the deceased were covered in blood of a whitish color, as if blood were mixed with water. The sister then tells us that she called on the prisoner and asked him what was the matter with the deceased, and also inquired into the cause of the terrible odor. The prisoner, in answer to these inquiries said: ' take very good care of her, to let her rest quiet in the bed, and she would be all right.' The sister further tells us that the deceased died on the 12th day of June-some days after the prisoner's second visit. The next witness called by the District-Attorney is Dr. C. C. Terry. He tells us that he assisted Dr. Beach, the Deputy Coroner, at the post-mortem examination, and that the deceased was a pregnant woman; that there were evidences of an abortion, causing inflammation, which resulted in death. Dr. Beach is called, and tells us that the child must have been between five and six months old at the time of the abortion.

....Judge Bedford proceeded to deliver the sentence as follows:

Wolff, you are a well-known abortionist. .....The people may rest assured that the District-Attorney, Recorder and myself will give, on all proper occasions, every assistance to crush out this monstrous crime, and to banish from our midst these traffickers in human life. In one word the authorities have declared war to the bitter end against the fraternity which you, today, so guiltily represent. Let every professional this City take warning, for on conviction their fate shall be the same as yours, namely confinement in the State Prison for the period of seven years, the longest term allowed under the statute.

(The Hideous Vice
New York Times 1857; Jan 27,1871; pg.3)

1 comment:

mynym said...

Notice the time-frame, abortion was under attack around the same time that abolitionists had begun defeating racism.