Dr. Raymond Showery killed a woman on the abortion table while he was out on bail pending appeal for a murder conviction after drowning a five pound baby born during an attempted abortion. Reporters posing as patients found multiple abuses at his clinic, and he severely injured at least three women.
During an abortion at the Southside Medical Center in El Paso on April 11, 1984, Raymond Showery tore Mickey Apodaca’s uterus and severed her uterine artery. She hemorrhaged for two hours before Showery would allow her transfer to a nearby hospital. She bled to death during emergency surgery to remove her uterus. The prosecution charged that Showery used inadequately trained staff, failed to properly treat the tear, delayed treatment, and delayed Apodaca’s transfer to a hospital. The abortionist refused to provide records to the grand jury on the grounds that they might incriminate him. He was indicted for manslaughter.
He performed this abortion while still on bail pending appeal of his conviction for murder in the case of a late-term aborted baby (weighing five pounds) who survived his 1979 abortion attempt. Showery deliberately drowned the viable baby.
The abortionist was found guilty in 1983 of the 1979 murder of a 7-month preborn child he aborted by hysterotomy. Employees testified that the infant girl had light brown hair, was about a foot long, and curled up in Showery’s hand. An employee saw the infant apparently attempting to breathe as Showery held the placenta over her face. Showery then dropped her into a bucket of water. Employees testified that bubbles rose to the surface. Showery then put her in a plastic bag which was tied and put at the end of the operating room. The bag moved as though someone were breathing in it, then the bag stopped moving. One witness said he was holding the bag Showery put the infant in, and that he later put the bag in the freezer where fetuses were stored. Showery was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison, even though the body of the infant was never found and employees could not identify the patient upon whom the abortion was performed. Five former employees testified that they had seen Showery kill the infant. The jury chose to convict for murder even though they had the option of convicting for manslaughter. Despite all the witnesses, Showery denied all the allegations. He said “I never killed a baby, and if I’m not telling you the truth, may I die right now.”
Showery’s license was revoked in the wake of the murder conviction, as well as a 1981 conviction for insurance fraud (keeping the patient’s insurance refund for two abortions). He had been on a 10-year probation since 1981 for inadequate records of prescribed drugs.
Showery had also been convicted of a felony charge of altering his hospital’s records, which hindered state’s attempts to locate the woman whose baby he had drowned. Former employees alleged that Showery falsified records on all patients over 20 weeks pregnant, saying they were all 20 weeks pregnant, and that such abortions were routine. One former employee, Gloria, said she assisted in abortions in which Showery would sedate the patient, dilate the cervix, and pull the fetus out with forceps. “He wanted them in pieces, but a lot of times they would come out whole,” and that she saw signs of life in at least two fetuses aborted this way. Another former employee, Belinda, said she looked away as Showery removed a fetus through a hysterotomy incision, and that when she turned back Showery had placed the fetus in a plastic bag in a bucket “and just waited until it stopped moving.” She said the fetus squirmed and wiggled for about 10 seconds. Former employee Anita alleged that for late abortions, “He walks in, closes the door, and locks it.” She also said Showery instructed them “If you see any movement or anything, you don’t see anything, you don’t know anything,” and that he asked employees to look away when the preborn child was extracted. A former employee said the fetuses would be put in plastic bags and frozen, that employees did not know what became them but that someone removed them from the freezer. An autopsy on a male fetus identified as Baby John Doe #81-01, found among other fetuses in the freezer at Showery’s hospital, was inconclusive as to whether he was born live due to decomposition during thawing. The fetus was just over 2 pounds, just over 13 inches long, with sparse dark hair. The autopsy also found meconium, usually found in the intestine of full-term fetuses. Showery denied ever performing abortions after 20 weeks, and is quoted as saying, “If that baby takes a breath, that’s life. Now the department of vital statistics comes into it and you fill out death certificates. It cried once. It took life. It took breath. It becomes a person. You cannot dispose of it with hospital wastage. It must go to the mortician and et cetera.” The abortion mill where he worked never filed a single fetal death certificate.
Showery claimed indigence and asked the State to pay for his defense in his manslaughter trial in Mickey Apodaca’s death. The prosecution showed that Showery was adept at transferring assets to hide them. His Defense claimed that legal fees had so depleted Showery’s assets he had given one attorney his car and another his boat to pay legal fees. He was said to have traded his shares on Family Hospital for stock in a bogus Mexican mining operation. His sons circulated a letter among doctors and lawyers soliciting contributions to a defense fund. A police report was filed alleging burglars broke into Showery’s house and safe, taking five handguns worth $200-$400 each, two rings worth about $500 each, a charge card, and some keys; police investigating the alleged burglary were hindered by Showery’s attorney’s private investigator who would not allow them to move freely about the home; officers could not find the point of entry into the house, and the safe did not appear to have been forced open. Showery was ordered to pay for his own defense. Showery had also filed for bankruptcy in 1976, claiming debts of about $2 million
In January 1978, Showery aborted patient “Ida.” Soon after, she was told by her physician she was 19 weeks pregnant, so she returned to Showery to complain. He refused to complete the abortion for free as follow-up, telling Ida “he wasn’t Sears. He didn’t have to guarantee his work.” The examination was so painful “Ida” described it as “like he just put his whole fist up there, just jammed it.” Showery told “Ida” “You whores just get in trouble all the time.” Showery performed the second abortion, and “Ida” awoke in a hospital bed in a pool of blood. One week later, she expelled 6 inches of umbilical cord and “a small, bloody four-fingered hand.”
Showery also aborted “Cora,” who woke up several hours after the abortion and was sent home. After complications set in, another gynecologist rushed her to an emergency room, where it was found she had fragments of the placenta in her bladder. Surgery revealed air and over two pints of fluids in her abdominal cavity, a 3/4-inch puncture of her bladder, and a 4-inch laceration of uterus and cervix. The gynecologist described her injuries as “very, very bad. If she had not come to the hospital … she may have suffered severe shock, or worse, irreversible shock, from which you don’t return. Death or a vegetative state.”
The abortionist’s patients were urged to abort immediately because the price of abortion increased $50 each week. Showery’s staff report that he told them during “slow weeks” not to run pregnancy tests but to make them all positive. Patients who needed time to get the money were told to ignore any vaginal bleeding, “that the onset of a seemingly normal five-day menstrual period means nothing.” The staff even fudged ultrasound tests to convince patients they were pregnant. One undercover agent reported alleged that, when her pregnancy test was negative, the ultrasound technician told her she was failing to menstruate due to a “mucous sac” which Showery could remove with a D&C. Another reporter alleged that she was told she had mucous plugging her cervix and Showery must do a $265 D&C to remove it. Another reporter was told the ultrasound showed a 10-12 week fetus, although an OB/GYN examined her and determined her later not to be pregnant. One reporter was menstruating at the time of her test and visit, and reported that Showery told her she was likely pregnant and to return in two weeks. Showery denied having anything to do with pregnancy testing.
Showery “criticized the extensive counseling given in other abortion programs, saying it is frightening and unnecessary, and that counseling at Family Hospital is minimal.” He said that “I’d do it just like that. If you sit down with a woman and counsel her all day long about abortion, she will probably say, “I’ve had enough,” and leave.” A reporter posing as a patient alleged: “I was not told of any risks. I was advised only of the cost of the procedure and the necessity for an appointment.” When she returned with an editor posing as her husband and requested counseling from Showery, he told them, “We just put that sucker [abortion suction machine] in there and bam.”
In an April 1981 news report, Showery said that “To my knowledge we have never had a serious problem or complication.”
The local Rape Crisis lines eventually stopped referring to Showery’s abortion mill due to the many complaints against him.
Reporters working on an investigation of Family Hospital alleged that, on March 3, 1981, “Showery followed them in his car and repeatedly veered toward their automobile, forcing them to the curb.” They pressed charges and he was arrested. The District Attorney’s office protested Showery’s release on bond during trial for Mickey Apodaca’s death because he’d threatened the prosecutor, a police detective, and a reporter covering Mickey’s death. The detective said that “If I can make just one positive statement, it’s that witnesses at the time showed that Dr. Showery was abusing drugs. And drugs can and will cause major changes in anybody.”
On March 10, 1981, the abortionist was charged with operating a child placement agency without a license. The charge stemmed from a woman’s adoption of a baby born at Family Hospital in December. She paid Showery $3,000 according to receipts, and he claimed the money went toward the maternity fees of the biological mother.”
On March 6, 1979, Showery agreed to a permanent injunction, in essence admitting to such infractions as increasing his abortion prices after quoting a lesser total, refusing refunds, telling patients they required services actually not required, offering inferior maternity care as compared to the care he promised, and employing incompetent, unqualified and unlicensed persons to perform services which by law are required to be performed by licensed doctors and nurses. In May 1980, the Attorney General’s office filed an amended petition alleging Showery had violated the final injunction.
The state filed suit claiming Showery owed $167.42 in personal property taxes, and a jewelry store filed suit in 1976 for failure to pay a balance of $5,405 on two Rolex watches and some jewelry. The owners of a building where Showery had an office filed suit against him, claiming that “Showery owed $2,000 in rent … and that the doctor had taken doors, cabinets, draperies and office fixtures that he did not own. The report noted that all doors had been removed from their hinges. One of the building owners said Showery even removed light switches. They said that Showery left the premises “in a shambles,” but dropped the suit because Showery was “judgement-proof.”
A news story found that “His money is funneled into a growing art passion. He particularly loves the huge, sexually explicit surrealistic works of Raymond Douillet.” Showery owned a number of works valued at from $40,000 to $50,000. “One of the Douillet paintings, which Showery said capture women “as they essentially are,” depicts several nude women leaning forward with paint-brushes protruding from their rumps.”
According to another news story, Showery is “an Adolph Hitler aficionado” who owns “quite an arsenal” of guns and read voraciously about Hitler. Showery said that “Hitler was one of the most misunderstood men in history. He was really a great man.”
A prominent El Paso physician told reporters he recommended Showery for medical school. When contacted by reporters, the physician asked that he not be named. Showery didn’t finish his residency at Latter Day Saints Hospital because he reportedly “was dismissed from the hospital for showing a disregard for nursing staff.”
Showery served as a part-time physician at the Planned Parenthood Center of El Paso during the mid- 1970s.
References: Associated Press, July 20, 1989; El Paso County Offense Report #00-380101; New York Times, April 29, 1984; Des Moines Register, May 5, 1984; El Paso Times, April 5, 6, 7, and 8, 1981, September 22 and 23, 1983, and April 7, 24 and 26, May 7 and June 5, 1984; Dallas Morning News, April 18 and 20 and May 3, 1984; Longview Morning Journal, May 6, 1984; Dallas Times-Herald, April 14, 1984 and September 29, 1983; Houston Chronicle, June 9, 1985; “Doctor Gets 15 Years in Infanticide Case.” ALL About Issues, November 1983, page 35; At Deadline. “Convicted Abortionist Now Charged With Manslaughter in New Tragedy.” ALL About Issues, June 1984, page 47; Debra Braun. “Abortionist Sentenced to 15 Years for Murdering Baby After Abortion.” National Right to Life News, October 13, 1983, pages 1 and 13.
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