EL PASO, February 6, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) -- An El Paso abortionist who made national headlines in the 1980s when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for drowning a newborn infant has died at age 84, according to the El Paso Times.

In 1983, Dr. Raymond Showery was found guilty of murder for the 1979 drowning death of a born-alive infant of 5- to 7-months gestation he had attempted to abort via hysterotomy abortion (a c-section performed with the intention of killing the fetus). 

Workers at Showery’s abortion facility testified that they saw the baby girl – who was about a foot long when curled up, weighed an estimated 3 to 6 pounds, and had light brown hair – struggling to breathe as Showery tried to smother her face with the placenta.  When that failed, Showery dropped her into a bucket of water.  The workers testified that they saw bubbles rising to the surface. 

According to the workers, Showery then put the infant in a plastic bag, tied the bag shut and put it aside.  At first, the bag moved as though someone were breathing inside, then the bag stopped moving. Later, Showery ordered the workers to place the baby’s body in the freezer where other fetal remains were stored.

Although the infant’s body was never found, Showery was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison after five former employees testified that they had witnessed Showery murder the infant. The jury convicted him of murder even though they had the option of convicting for manslaughter.

While free on bail pending an appeal on the murder charge (the appeal was later denied), Showery was charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of Mickey Apodaca, a 28-year-old mother of four who bled to death after a botched abortion he performed on her in 1984. Apodoca’s uterus was perforated and her uterine artery severed during the procedure. 

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Prosecutors accused Showery of using inadequately trained staff, failing to properly treat Apodaca’s injuries, delaying treatment, and delaying a hospital transfer. Bail was set at $1 million.  Showery refused to cooperate with the investigation, withholding records from the Grand Jury on the grounds that they might incriminate him.

Showery’s legal woes neither began nor ended there.  In 1981, two years before his 1983 murder conviction, Showery was charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle after trying to run Edna Gundersen, then a reporter for the El Paso Times, off the road while she was investigating a number of allegations made by his patients.  He was also convicted of insurance fraud for pocketing thousands of dollars in refunds that year.

Many other complaints were filed against Showery over the years.  He was accused by his own staff of falsifying records to say that women were 20 weeks pregnant when they were actually further along.  One former employee, Gloria, said such late abortions were routine, and that “he wanted them in pieces, but a lot of times they would come out whole.” She told the El Paso Times that she saw at least two infants born alive after the procedure and left to die.  Former employee Anita alleged that for late abortions, “He walks in, closes the door, and locks it.” She said Showery told 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 while the babies were extracted.

Staff also alleged Showery was recommending and performing abortions on women who weren’t pregnant, an allegation that led the El Paso Times to do an investigative sting in 1981.  Reporters posing as patients were told they were pregnant and urged to have abortions immediately.  One undercover reporter was told that ultrasound showed a 10-12 week baby in her womb, although an obstetrician later examined her and determined she was not pregnant. Another said that when her pregnancy test came back negative, the ultrasound technician claimed she was failing to menstruate due to a “mucous sac” which Showery could cure with a $265 dilation and curettage (D&C).  Another one of the reporters was having her monthly period at the time of her test and visit, but Showery told her she was probably pregnant anyway and to return in two weeks.

Additional allegations surfaced concerning the inappropriate disposal of fetal remains, after an aborted baby boy was found frozen in a freezer in Showery’s facility in 1984. One former employee testified in court that aborted infants were often put in plastic bags and frozen, and that someone removed them from the freezer, although the employees did not know what happened to them after that.

Showery was also charged with operating a child placement agency without a license after allegedly accepting $3,000 from a woman to ‘adopt’ a baby born at his clinic.

In his obituary, his family remembered him as “loved, regarded, respected, charming and captivating.”  They recounted his childhood as the son of Syrian immigrants, and listed his early accomplishments: chauffeur, milk deliveryman, college football player, high school biology teacher, youth football coach, chemist, doctor and Naval Commander.  They made no mention of his later career as an abortionist, nor the legal troubles that plagued him.  He was buried last week at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.