Trial of Madame Restell (Ann Lohman) for Abortion (1841)
In the spring of 1841, abortionist Ann Lohman, called Madame Restell, was convicted for crimes against one of her abortion clients, Maria Purdy. In a deathbed confession, Purdy admitted that she had received an abortion provided by Madame Restell, and she further claimed that the tuberculosis that she was dying from was a result of her abortion. Restell was charged with administering an illegal abortion in New York and her legal battles were heavily documented in the news. Madame Restell’s arrest was one of many highly publicized altercations with the law she experienced during her forty years as a professional abortion provider. Her trial was one of the first abortion trials in American history. Although the charges against Restell were later dropped due to many minor legal complications, her trial brought attention to the legal controversies surrounding abortion as well as the high likelihood of legal action and convictions of abortion crimes in New York during the 1800s.