338 MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE
The other methods are injections of ^sQ^y^jc^JoG^&jidB, - or irritating
lotions, such as corrosive sublimate and Condy's fluid, into the vagina or
into the 'uterus. Electricity has^begn lately used to induce abortion,
especially, in the United StatesTThe negative pole is applied to the cervix
in the posterior vaginal cul-de-sac? and the positive pole is placed over the
sacrum or lumbar vertebra. When the electric current is passed, the uterus
contracts and may expel its contents. This kind of crime is difficult to be
detected, unless there is a burn or mechanical injury.
ACCIDENTS FROM CRIMINAL MISCARRIAGE
When miscarriage has been caused by rupturing the membranes by the
introduction of an " abortion stick ", excoriations, Jacerati^ns or. perforations
are usually produced in the upper part of the vagina or in the uterine walls.
Death may occur immediately from shock__and haemorrhage from these
iEjunesfor subsequently from septic peMc^peiitonitis or septicaemia or even
In the case of death occurring from haemorrhage the defence may raise
a plea that the haemorrhage was due to menstruation, and not the result of
criminal miscarriage. The uterus and the pelvic organs are most probably
found congested, if death took place during a menstrual flow, but they are
* pale and anaemic, if haemorrhage occurred as a result of criminal abortion.
If death does not occur, the subinvolution of the uterus may result with
concomitant symptoms of displacements, menorrhagia, leucorrhcea, etc,
When the act has been accomplished by injecting some fluid into the
vagina or uterus death may take place from shock due to the sudden
distension of the uterus or from the sudden entrance of the air or fluid into
the uterine sinuses. Death may also occur from subsequent septic
peritonitis or septicaemia, or metritis may occur leading to the adhesions of
the ovaries, Fallopian tubes and uterus. Rupture of the uterus may some-
times occur from the forcible injection of a fluid into its cavity.
A healthy young woman,8 aged 21 years, died from shock occasioned by unlawful.
injection of a fluid made up of soap and water for the sole purpose of procuring abortion.
Richter9 describes the case of a woman, aged 28 years, found dead ha the kitchen
of her dwelling. Near her lay a syringe and a vessel containing soapy water. The cloth-
ing was not bloody or torn. She, supposing herself to be three months pregnant, had
tried to bring about abortion by injecting soapy water. At the autopsy the pericardium
was found distended and tympanitic. In the pericardium there was dark, fluid blood
containing air. There was also foamy blood in the right heart, and in both ovarian
arteries "bubbles of air were found. There was also blood hi the uterus, and embryo,
6 cm. long, and at the site of the attachment of the embryo, fluid blood containing air.
He describes another case of a similar nature in which a woman died after injecting a
solution of boric acid with a view to procuring abortion. At the post-mortem examina-
tion there were bubbles of air in the uterus and in the ovum, and blood containing air
in the veins of the pelvis and lower abdomen.
A case 10 is also recorded in which a woman, 34 years old, died of air embolism
soon after douching. Autopsy revealed the presence of a foetus of three months' gesta-
tion in intact membranes. The right ovary stowed a large corpus luteum of pregnancy.
There was no sign of injury to the cervix. Fine froth was present in the trachea, and
Hie tags were cedetoatotis. The right side of the heart was dilated and the auricle
aad ventricle were filled with frothy blood, which was found in the pulmonary
artery. The brain was congested. The woman was not aware of her pregnancy, as
s&e used fe& menstruate every month. There was a history of menstruation for three
moiafes durfeg her previous pregnancy.
Wlhaa drugs have been used to produce miscarriage, death may result
their pofaoiwts «ffeqis* a& most of the reputed abortif acients are irritant
a LmMs&i, Felx 4, J92&, p.
t, £BU**KI, Haines ardl Wcfafer, Leg. Xed. <*•<£ Toxic., Ed. n, VoL I, p. 96.
la a Forbes, Bril MA J©tttv Oct. 21, B44 ^oL H, p. 529.