Lennis Mae Roach
SUMMARY: Lennis Mae Roach, age 25, died on April 24, 1932 after an abortion perpetrated in Oklahoma City by Dr. Richard Thacker.
Dr. Richard Thacker
Dr. Richard E. Thacker
maintained an office and operating rooms in the Terminal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His trial for the abortion death of
brought out testimony concerning the deaths of other patients, including
Robbie Lou Thompson
, and 25-year-old Lennis May Roach, nee Smith.
Mrs. Roach had come to Thacker's office several times, he admitted. Thacker said that Mrs. Roach was in poor health and emaciated, and had a white discharge, indicative of infection, from her vagina. She also, Thacker said, had pains in her abdomen.
Thacker said that he treated her with a tonic and with antiseptic tampons.
He adamantly denied that he had performed an abortion on her. However, other witnessed testified during Thacker's trial for the abortion/murder of Ruth Hall, that Thacker had indeed performed an abortion on Mrs. Roach, causing her death on April 24, 1932. More specifically, Lennis May's husband, F.S. Roach, told the county attorney that Thacker had performed an abortion on her.
Keep in mind that things that things we take for granted, like antibiotics and blood banks, were still in the future. For more about abortion in this era, see
Abortion in the 1930s
For more on pre-legalization abortion, see
The Bad Old Days of Abortion
New York Times; "Abortion Ring", Time, Monday, May 9, 1932;
Thacker v State. 1933 OK CR 119. 26 P.2d 770. 55 Okl.Cr. 161. Decided: 10/27/1933. Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals
"Illegal Surgery Kills Seven Girls,"
Asbury Park (NJ) Pre
ss, Apr. 29, 1932
"Jail Osteopath, Seek Doctor in Co-eds' Deaths,"
Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette
, Apr. 29, 1932
"At Least Five Girls Dead After Illegal Operations in Oklahoma City District,"
Mexia (TX) Weekly Herald
, Apr. 29, 1932
abortionists -- female
abortionists -- male
delay in transport
delay in treatment
district of columbia
former criminal abortionist
illegal - doctor
illegal - midwife
illegal - nurse
illegal - paramedical
illegal - post roe
illegal - unknown
illegal - untrained
national abortion federation
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