Abortion in 1913: Nellie’s Exit

Nellie Flanagan Kralemann

I’m tempted to think that taking charge of your life, being the hero of your own drama, taking leaps into the unknown is always a good thing. Risk-takers win, right? Strong-willed women who make things happen for themselves are supposed to lived happily ever after. But then I think of Nellie. My great-aunt Nellie reminds me that gambling with the future is always a flirtation with danger. And that danger can kill you.


On Tuesday, March 25, 1913, a rainy spring day in St. Louis, the newlywed Nellie Flanagan Kralemann sent for her friend Pauline. She was doubled over with terrible abdominal pains. Pauline applied hot towels to Nellie’s belly and back and gave her a liniment rub-down, then called Nellie’s husband Harry home from work. Harry brought a doctor.

To the doctor Nellie admitted the cause of her problem. She’d had an abortion. She would say no more. Infection raged through her body. By 10 A.M. the next day, after a night of screaming agony, she was dead. Continued>>>

(Excerpt from my work in progress “Grand Exits”)

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One Response to Abortion in 1913: Nellie’s Exit

  1. deb says:

    Is this a chapter in your next book? You come from a long line of independent women. This is sad, yet inspiring. Fascinating…thank you for publishing it.

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