SUMMARY: Katherine Cross, age 18, died October 10, 1917 after an abortion perpetrated in Seminole County, OK by Dr. Abraham H. Yates.


The Seminole County News in Oklahoma reported that Katherine died October 10, 1917, from a "criminal operation" performed by Dr. A. H. Yates and his assistant, a schoolteacher named Frederick O‘Neal. Katherine, who had been born in August of 1899, was 18 years old.

Katherine was the second victim Yates was charged with murdering by abortion in as many months. Elise Stone had died in August.

Another source, "The Human Wolves of Konawa," goes into much greater detail about Katherine's life and death. What follows is from that article.

Katherine was the oldest of the eight children of John and Mary Cross, who had moved to Oklahoma from Arkansas with their large family. They were a farming family.

The day after Katherine's funeral, the case made the front page of the Shawnee Daily News-Herald under the headline, “Under Bond, Dr. Yates to Face Murder Charge; Konawa Physician Arrested Following Death of Katherine Cross; Charge Death Result Criminal Operation; Doctor Is Brought to This County for Safe Keeping.”

Katherine's parents told officials about the entire tragic turn of events. Yates reportedly bullied Katherine's mother into consenting to the abortion by saying that Katherine was threatening to kill herself.

Eleven years after Katherine's death, her parents were approached by political rivals of the county sheriff, Fred Bowles, convincing them to sign an affidavit accusing him of complicity in the abortion that took their daughter's life. Bowles's rivals were found guilty of libel and slander and were jailed for a year and fined $1,000 each.

There is no follow-up in newspapers about the case against Yates. After their daughter's death, Katherine's family moved away from the area to a farm about 100 miles southwest of Konawa, Yates died at the age of 64 in 1931, and is buried in the same cemetery as Katherine, within sight of the maker inscribed, "Murdered by human wolves."




Katherine's abortion was typical of pre-legalization abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

Note, please, that with issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more information about early 20th Century abortion mortality, see Abortion Deaths 1910-1919.


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

Sources:



  1. 1900s
  2. 1910-1919
  3. 1920s
  4. 1930s
  5. 1940s
  6. 1950s
  7. 1960s
  8. 1970s
  9. 1980s
  10. 1990s
  11. 19th century
  12. 2000-2009
  13. 20s
  14. 30s
  15. 40s
  16. NAF
  17. abortifacient
  18. abortion
  19. abortion mill
  20. abortion mortality
  21. abortionists
  22. abortionists -- female
  23. abortionists -- male
  24. alabama
  25. anesthesia
  26. arizona
  27. black women
  28. born alive
  29. botched abortion
  30. california
  31. chicago
  32. colorado
  33. connecticut
  34. cover-up
  35. death
  36. deaths
  37. deception
  38. delay in transport
  39. delay in treatment
  40. district of columbia
  41. dumped body
  42. ectopic
  43. embolism
  44. falsifying forms
  45. fetal indications
  46. florida
  47. former criminal abortionist
  48. george tiller
  49. georgia
  50. hemorrhage death
  51. hospitals
  52. illegal - doctor
  53. illegal - midwife
  54. illegal - nurse
  55. illegal - paramedical
  56. illegal - post roe
  57. illegal - unknown
  58. illegal - untrained
  59. illegal abortion
  60. illinois
  61. inadequate documents
  62. inadequate equipment
  63. inadequate resuscitation
  64. incomplete abortion
  65. indiana
  66. infection
  67. kansas
  68. llinois
  69. louisiana
  70. maryland
  71. massachusetts
  72. maternal indications
  73. maternal mortality
  74. michigan
  75. mills
  76. missouri
  77. mortality
  78. national abortion federation
  79. new jersey
  80. new mexico
  81. new york
  82. north carolina
  83. ohio
  84. oklahoma
  85. pennsylvania
  86. planned parenthood
  87. pre-roe legal
  88. previous misconduct
  89. prostaglandin
  90. quackery
  91. questionable stories
  92. ru-486
  93. rupture
  94. saline
  95. secret abortion
  96. self-induced
  97. suicide
  98. teens
  99. texas
  100. wisconsin