abortion 7 case sent to grand jury

Abortion 7 case sent to grand jury

Editors note: This story appeared in the August 16, 1972 edition of the Hyde Park Herald. It refers to the 7 Jane members arrested for performing illegal abortions earlier that year.) 

by Tom Conners

A Cook County criminal court judge has sent to the grand jury a case involving seven women accused of operating an abortion service in Hyde Park and South Shore.

Judge John F. Hechinger ruled last week that the state's evidence warrants a grand jury hearing on charges of conspiracy to commit abortion against all seven defendants and on charges of abortion against five of them.

At the same time, Judge Hechinger dismissed charges of abortion that had been made against two of the defendants. Susan G.; 21, 5342 Harper, and Judith P.; 29, 2216 N. Geneva.

The other defendants are Martha S.; 30, 5213 Kenwood, Sheila S.; 22 5459 Hyde Park. Diane S.; 23, 820 Agatite, Abby G.; 27, 47 W. 59th and Madeleine S.; 30, 6933 Bennett.

Hechinger made the rulings after a preliminary hearing in which testimony was taken from two Chicago policemen and from two women who said that they went to the defendants for abortions.

One of the policemen, homicide investigator Harold Huffman testified about a police stakeout that led to the arrest of six of the defendants on May 3 at Shore Dr., where the abortions are alleged to have been performed.

Huffman said that on May 3 he sat for several hours in an unmarked police car in the 5500 block of South Everett after receiving a tip that an abortion service was being run in a building on that block.

Huffman testified that during his stakeout he saw numerous women enter the apartment building at 553 Everett.

At various intervals, Huffman, alleged, some of these women would come out of the building, get in a car and drive to South Shore.

Huffman said that he followed the women on three different trips from Hyde Park to South Shore and finally identified the 72 South Shore Dr. building as their destination. The identification of the South Shore address was made with the help of another policeman who was dressed in civilian clothes and was posing as a salesman in South Shore.

Huffman testified that gave a description of the car the women were riding in the plainclothesman, who spotted the vehicle when arrived in South Shore.

The plainclothesman watched the elevator dial and determined that the women had ridden the elevator to the eleventh floor, testimony continued.

He then summoned Huffman and other officers, who quickly went to the eleventh floor.

Huffman said that when they arrived at the floor, they met a woman who, after being told that they were policemen, admitted that she had just had an abortion in apartment IIF.

The officers then went to that apartment. Huffman said there was a group of women sitting around the apartment. All occupants of the apartment were placed under arrest, including six of the defendants.