Trial of Madame Restell

Madame Restell, or Ann Lohman, was arrested, tried, and convicted of performing an illegal abortion in the spring of 1841. The late Maria Purdy, who died of tuberculosis, made a death bed confession about the abortion operation she'd had at Madame Restell's. She blamed the complications from the abortion as the reason she developed tuberculosis and subsequently died. She had taken some of Madame Restell's "pills" but stopped because she was wary of the ingredients, and then asked her to perform an abortion. Madame Restell would be the female physician performing the operation, and it would be her last. She spent some time in prison, and would continue to run her business upon her release, but she would only sell pills and would never again perform a surgical abortion. 


Abbott, Karen. “Madame Restell: The Abortionist of Fifth Avenue.”, Smithsonian Institution, 27 Nov. 2012,

Horwitz, Rainey. “The Embryo Project Encyclopedia.” Trial of Madame Restell (Ann Lohman) for Abortion (1841) | The Embryo Project Encyclopedia, 10 Oct. 2017,

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

Spring 1841