This article addresses the social, cultural, and political history of backstreet abortion in post-war Britain, focusing on the murders of Beryl Evans and her daughter Geraldine, at Ten Rillington Place in 1949. It shows how the commonplace connection of John Christie to abortion and Beryl Evan's death was not a given in the wider public, legal, political, and forensic imagination of the time, reflecting the multi-layered and shifting meanings of abortion from the date of the original trials in the late 1940s and 1950s, through the subsequent judicial and literary reinvestigations of the case in the 1960s, to its cinematic interpretation in the 1970s. Exploring the language of abortion used in these different contexts, the article reveals changes in the gendering of abortionists, the increasing power and presence of abortion activists and other social reformers, the changing representation of working-class women and men, and the increasing critique of the practice of backstreet abortion. The case is also made for a kind of societal blind spot on abortion at the time of both the Evans and Christie trials; in particular, a reluctance to come to terms with the concept of the male abortionist, which distorted the criminal investigations and the trials themselves. Only when public acceptance for legalizing abortion grew in the more liberal climate of the 1960s and beyond did a revisionist understanding of the murder of Beryl Evans, in which abortion came to be positioned as a central element, gain a sustained hearing.