• U.S.

Medicine: Anti-Birth Insurance

2 minute read

Just about a year ago, according to the testimony she last week swore to in a Newark court, a wayward New Jersey girl named Anna Bartholomeo found herself pregnant and speedily learned about ” ‘Dr.’ Harley’s place.” This was an eleven-room house in a respectable Newark neighborhood where one George E. Harley, a genteel little malpractitioner, conducted an anti-birth insurance business. For $2 a month, paid in advance, “Dr.” Harley guaranteed that no cus tomer need have a baby. For contracep tive he dispensed a “Magic Oil.” In case of pregnancy he stood ready to perform an abortion.

More than 2,000 women in Newark, New York City and neighboring communitiessubscribed to the system of this abortionist whose name echoed London’s famed Harley Street where England’s most honorable doctors have their offices.

Newark’s “Dr.” Harley was called both an osteopath and a chiropractor last week. According to an imposing certificate on his office wall, issued by a diploma mill called the “American Academy of Medicine & Surgery,” he is a “Doctor of Medicine & Master Diagnostician.” Subscribers to his anti-birth plan submitted photographs of themselves in street clothes and in the nude, and received numbered identification cards.

“Dr.” Harley’s assistant, a strapping brunette of 33 named Anna Green, carefully filed the photographs, especially the nudes, which few women rebelled against posing for, in big leather-bound scrapbooks.

Police exulted over those tell-tale photo graphs when they raided this abortorium last autumn. But prosecutors did not need to subpoena any of the women as witnesses, for Anna Bartholomeo, 20, inmate of the North Jersey Training School for Girls, testified willingly. This young woman went to the Harley establishment last spring, when she was three months pregnant. Because she had neglected to take out a Harley anti-birth policy, “Dr.” Harley wanted to charge her $150 for the abortion. Her “friend,” who accompanied her, haggled the charge down to $125, whereupon Anna Bartholomeo was promptly delivered of her embryo.

Last week a Newark jury decided that “Dr.” Harley and Assistant Green were criminals. A judge prepared to sentence them to from seven to 15 years in a penitentiary. This jeopardized the prepayments made by women who expected to require abortions. As for their nude photographs, the county prosecutor guaranteed to protect their reputations by impounding the scrapbooks.

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