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Goldie Crow
Fatal abortion blamed on psychologist
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On July 17, 1941, Goldie Crow, wife of Oklahoma City milk truck driver Albert Crow, died of peritonitis from a criminal abortion performed July 2 by Otto C. Lucy.

Lucy was a 37-year-old psychologist and teacher, had previously been dean of men at Central State College. He performed the fatal abortion on Goldie while he was out on bail pending trial for the abortion death of Mary Ellen Legge. Though he was not a physician, Lucy had a listing in the telephone book reading "Dr. Otto C. Lucy".

Albert admitted that he had purchased some abortifacients, which had not had their desired effect. He went to Lucy's apartment in June, thinking that Lucy was a doctor. He told him that Goldie was pregnant and that they didn't want the child. He also told Lucy that he had no money, and Lucy said that he couldn't do anything for him.

But on July 2, Lucy went to the Crow home at dusk and performed an abortion on Goldie. At some point that evening he called a nurse, Mrs. Ruth Bowen, to assist him. Some time afterward he returned to check on Goldie, found her condition improved, and recommended that she drink fruit juices and plenty of water.

Over the next few days, Goldie's condition deteriorated. Albert called Lucy, who said he'd done all he could for her and told Albert to take his wife to a hospital. Albert called the family doctor, who also said to take Goldie to a hospital. Albert called a taxi and did so. But despite the efforts of doctors there, Goldie died.

During the investigation into Goldie's abortion, police found surgical instruments wrapped in a towel and bloody newspaper, stuffed into a garbage can in the basement of the apartment building where Lucy lived.

Lucy was sentenced to 25 years in the state penitentiary for Goldie's death.

Illegal by Doctors Illegal by Paramedical Illegal by Amateurs Self Induced

During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.

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

Sources: "Lucy Drops Appeal Plan, Starts to Prison", The Oklahoman, April 14, 1941; "Lucy Murder Trial Set for April 7", The Oklahoman, March 29, 1941; "Surgical Tools Enter Lucy's Abortion Trial", The Oklahoman, April 7, 1941; "No Witnesses Are Heard in Lucy Defense", The Oklahoman, April 8, 1941; "Prosecutor is Set to Open Otto Lucy Death Trial Monday", The Oklahoman, April 5, 1941

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