The Inez Burns Story, Part IV

Note: For a recap on this story, please reads Parts I-III below.


We don’t know precisely when Inez Burns began her career as an abortionist but by 1922 during Prohibiton, she was “practicing” on her own–and earning a lot of money. She soon purchased a three-story flat on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, installing surgical equipment in immaculately clean rooms simulating a hospital with ether and other modern techniques.

Attired in a crisp, white nurse’s uniform, Inez was often addressed as “Doctor.” She was clearly in her stride, giving orders to a staff of six competent women–including a receptionist and one male, Joe Hoff, “the blood man.”

She also had her spies.

To this day, Inez Burns’ granddaughter, Caroline Carlisle retains the image of gray haired Joe Hoff, holding up a glass beaker in one of the sanitized rooms.

When entering the clinic, female patients encountered a professional environment where the staff spoke in hushed voices, reinforced by the bold “NO TALKING” signs posted on the waiting room walls.

In the waiting room itself, patients could reach into a shallow copper bowl for one of Inez L. Burns’ business cards, describing her as a “designer.”

…To Be Continued…