Annie Aves

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Isabel Annie Aves (née Michaelsen) (18 March 1887–15 October 1938) was a New Zealand abortionist. She was born in Waipawa, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand on 18 March 1887. Aves ran an abortion business from her home in Napier using sea-tangle tents (probably Laminaria digitata seaweed stalks or a local substitute) which, when inserted into the cervical canal, absorbed water and slowly expanded, dilating the cervix.[1]

Her first trial was in Napier on a charge of "unlawfully using an instrument with intent to procure a miscarriage", but the jury could not agree on a verdict. Two further trials were held in Wellington, with the juries again failing to agree on a verdict, amid much publicity. An unusual fourth trial followed, which also resulted in no conviction.[2][3] Aves was represented by Cyril Harker at the trials in Napier in August 1936, Wellington in October 1936,[4] December 1936 and February 1937.[5][6] Harker's defense rested on lack of direct evidence; none of the women gave evidence and the crown prosecutor relied on circumstantial evidence.

In 1938 Aves was shot by Colin Herbert Hercock, the fiancé of a woman she had performed an abortion on, after he was led to believe that his fiancée was going to die as a result of the abortion. Aves died later in hospital; the fiancée survived to give evidence at Hercock's trial.[7][8] Harker defended Hercock, getting him off on the lesser charge of manslaughter rather than murder[9] and subsequently getting his prison term reduced.[10] In the 1940 by election Harker was elected as a Member of Parliament for the National Party in the Waipawa electorate.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lawrence, Ghislaine. The Lancet360. 9331 (Aug 10, 2002): 497.
  2. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 22 October 1936 — JURY DISAGREES". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 17 February 1937 — MRS. AVES FREED". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 21 October 1936 — CASE COMPLETED". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 1936-10-21. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  5. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 4 February 1937 — CROWN CASE ENDS". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 1937-02-04. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  6. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 17 February 1937 — MRS. AVES FREED". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 1937-02-17. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  7. ^ Brookes, Barbara. "Isabel Annie Aves". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Papers Past — Auckland Star — 1 November 1938 — JURY OUT.". Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 2 November 1938 — TWELVE YEARS' GAOL". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 1938-11-02. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  10. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 28 April 1939 — SENTENCE REDUCED". Paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 1939-04-28. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  11. ^ New Zealand Official Yearbook 1941 p825