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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Midwife denies performing abortion

May 9, 2018 Updated Wed., May 9, 2018 at 3:07 p.m.

 (Michael Stephens / The Spokesman-Review)
(Michael Stephens / The Spokesman-Review)

Dr. Mary Swartz, a midwife, took the stand in her second-degree murder trial and denied performing an “illegal operation” (abortion) and causing the death of Fay Hamilton, 17.

She said the girl was brought into her office by her uncle, who said she was “in a delicate condition” and wanted to know if Swartz “would do something for her.” Swartz informed him that she “was not in that practice” and wanted “nothing to do with the girl or him.”

“I am the mother of eight children and certainly would not have anything to do with that kind of case,” Swartz testified.

The uncle asked if she knew of a sanitarium where the girl could go, and she told them of three or four.

Hamilton went to the sanitarium of Anna Williams. Swartz later went to visit her there and found her mother sobbing. She said the girl’s mother said “a soldier had operated on the girl,” and, apparently, the operation went wrong.

Yet Swartz was adamant that she never touched the girl.

The operators of the sanitarium and another doctor who treated her for pain there said they did not know an illegal operation had been performed. They just understood that the girl was ill and in pain.

The trial was continuing.

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