Since she was a nurse I think she knew there was chance she, herself would die but to her , ( at the time at least) it was option she was willing to risk more than carrying the pregnancy to full term. She was a desperate woman. So desperate she took the risk.
There were many ,many , women who took that same risk.
If abortions were made illegal today women would still have abortions and studies say the percentage of women seeking abortions would be about the same as when they were legal.
The best way to lower the number of abortions is through birth control education and planning.