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Abortion Under ApartheidNationalism, Sexuality, and Women's Reproductive Rights in South Africa$
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Susanne M. Klausen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199844494

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199844494.001.0001

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“Subjected to Relentless and Grueling Cross-Examination”

“Subjected to Relentless and Grueling Cross-Examination”

The Crichton-Maharaj Trial, 1973

Chapter:
(p.139) Chapter 5 “Subjected to Relentless and Grueling Cross-Examination”
Source:
Abortion Under Apartheid
Author(s):

Susanne M. Klausen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199844494.003.0006

This chapter examines the second trial, held a few months after the first, at which Dr. Derk Crichton was again prosecuted for procuring illegal abortions. This time he was prosecuted alongside another doctor, Dr. Angini Maharaj, with whom he worked at the King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban. The chapter argues that Crichton, an eminent member of the medical profession, was prosecuted twice in order to maximize his usefulness as an object lesson for other doctors providing abortions to white teenagers. Ultimately both doctors were found guilty, struck off the medical roll, and forced to leave South Africa to obtain employment. The second trial kept the issue of clandestine abortion on the front pages of newspapers for another few months, and the constant reporting and ongoing public shaming of young white women reminded other young women that they, too, risked exposure and humiliation if they tried to procure abortions.

Keywords:   Trial, Derk Crichton, Angini Maharaj, Medical profession, Illegal abortion, King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, Newspapers, Public shaming, White teenagers

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