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1932: A String of Abortion Deaths in Oklahoma City
Two doctors charged with murder
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• Dear Dr. Spencer

The spring of 1932 brought a sudden string of criminal abortion deaths to Oklahoma City.

On April 14, 1932, Mrs. Isobel F. Ferguson died of suspected abortion complications. Two physicians in the University of Oklahoma area, J. W. Elsiminger 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, Elsiminger 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, Lennis May 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 Nancy Joe Lee, a University of Oklahoma co-ed who was secretly married to a university football player. 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.

The total number of deaths attributed to Thacker and Elsiminger was eight. One, Marie Epperson, had died in 1930.

The New York Times provided no follow-up on the story.

Source: New York Times 4/29/32

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