The Inez Burns Story, Part XVII


While Inez worked long hours in the hospital-like environment upstairs, she was unaware that Gloria Shannon was compiling material for a book about Burns’ abortion business.

Inez may have known that on the street outside the Fillmore Street flat, state medical investigators followed women leaving the clinic, attempting to persuade them to testify in court against Burns; at this they never succeeded.

At the same time “Pat” Brown, San Francisco’s new district attorney, targeted Inez Burns, slowly building a case against the “queen of abortionists.”

Brown represented a reformist movement.

The police chief announced a new crime prevention detail called the “Flying Squadron,” heavily armed at all times in light robbery, rape and murder. Stool pigeons, double-crossers and informers came forward.

The noose was beginning to tighten.

Sensing trouble in the air, patients’ appointments were canceled in the days leading up to the morning of September 26, 1945, when Inez learned just minutes in advance that her establishment was about to be raided.

After a quick getaway she and husband Joe returned home to their Guerrero Street home where the police also appeared. Based on a complaint by a young patient, Inez Burns was arrested for performing abortions and practicing without a medical license.

The notebooks containing the names of patients were taken as evidence and the district attorney’s office offered to share Burns’ accounting methods with the internal revenue service.

…To Be Continued…