The Rise and Fall of Hollywood's Secret Abortionist (Exclusive Book Excerpt)
by Stephen G. Bloom
December 04, 2017
Before Roe v. Wade, Inez Burns became wealthy performing abortions for movie stars and the poor. Some thought she was doing a public service. But to future Gov. Pat Brown, she was a menace.
"This case is going farther than anybody thinks," San Francisco District Attorney Edmund G. (Pat) Brown teased reporters at an October 1945 press conference designed to snare as much publicity as publicity-hungry Brown could summon. Ambitious and enterprising, the 40-year-old was going gangbusters to put Inez Burns, one of California's most politically connected women, behind bars.
There was nothing illegal about knowing everyone who was anyone in California, but there was plenty illegal about exactly how millionaire Inez had joined the state's wealthiest women. For two decades, she had owned and operated the largest and most successful abortion clinic in California. Spick-and-span sterile and hygienic, Inez's clinic looked more like an elegant ladies' tearoom than a facility for terminating pregnancies.