Monday, April 14, 2008

Anniversary: First in a string of back alley deaths

April 14, 1932 marked the first in a string of Oklahoma City back-alley abortion deaths. On that day, Mrs. Isobel F. Ferguson died of suspected abortion complications. Two physicians in the University of Oklahoma area, J. W. Eisiminger and Richard E. Thacker, were suspected in the case. The very next day, April 15, 1932, Ruth Hall died of suspected abortion complications. Once again, Eisiminger and Thacker were suspects.

Eisiminger was an osteopath in Oklahoma City. He alone was the suspect in the abortion death of Virginia Lee Wyckoff, a 21-year-old student at the University of Oklahmoa. Virginia died April 24, 1932. Elsiminger was charged with murder in her death.

That same day, a Mrs. F. S. Roach died of suspected abortion complications. Both Elsiminger and Thacker were suspected in the case.

The next day, April 25, 1932, another young woman died of abortion complications -- 17-year-old Mrs. Frank Lee, a University of Oklahoma co-ed. Thacker, a surgeon, was charged with the death.

Thacker had also been charged with murder in the abortion death of Robbie Lou Thompson, age 21, the previous week.

Eisiminger was eventually sentenced to life in prison for the death of one of his abortion patients. I'm currently reviewing newly-discovered documents on Eisiminger. But evidently corrpution and bribery were so intricately involved in his case that the state of Oklahoma reviewed the entire clemancy process over the Eisiminger case. I don't have the patience at the moment to sort this all out.

I also found this archived article from Time.

Eisiminger and Thacker were typical of criminal abortionists in that they were physicians. This string of deaths underscores the need to actuall enforce the law and not just blow these guys off as if they're committing a victimless crime.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion

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