National Abortion Federation member Richard Ragsdale and his wife were indicted in 1994 on four counts of child pornography involving their three-year-old foster daughter.
One of the photographs showed the child dressed in black lace thong panties, with her genitalia and buttocks exposed.
The charges against both Ragsdale and his wife were dropped after his wife signed a "statement of fact" admitting that the photographs "were of an inappropriate nature and could constitute a violation of state law." But she also maintained that she herself did not consider them inappropriate, that she was "an artist" and the photos were a "keepsake" for the child.
Ragsdale was charged with possession of the photographs, which he picked up after they were developed. Ragsdale told reporters that the situation was a "minor family matter … blown totally out of proportion." He insisted that the prosecution was motivated by opposition to his abortion practice.
Police pointed out that they had merely had the photo lab where Ragsdale had dropped off the film call the number provided with the film, and they then arrested him when he picked the photos up. It had been the technician at the lab who had contacted the police.
The child was placed in another foster home by child protective services upon the Ragsdale’s’ arrest, and was later adopted by an out-of-state family.
Sources: Chicago Tribune 9-24-94, 11-17-94; Courier-News 11-17-94; New York Times 9-24-94; Chicago Sun-Times 9-24-94, 10-16-94; Rockford Register-Star 9-23-94, 9-24-94, 10-13-94, 11-16-94, 11-18-94, 11-19-94; The Oregonian 11-17-94)
Now on to the malpractice suits:
Kelli W. sued after an abortion performed by Ragsdale at Northern Illinois Women’s Center on March 10, 1989. Kelli had sought an abortion due to complications with previous pregnancies, and had selected Ragsdale because he "had been publicized as a promoter of safety and proper procedure through abortion clinics." Within 24 hours after the abortion, Kelli suffered severe pain and blood loss. She called Ragsdale, and was assured this was normal and would dissipate. She was later admitted to a hospital where physicians found "a large percentage of the fetus" still in her uterus. Kelli required additional surgery. (Exhibit A, Wilson v. Ragsdale; Rockford Register Star 10-27-89; Winnebago County Circuit Court Case No. 89L580)
Trace O. sued after an abortion performed by Ragsdale at Northern Illinois Women’s Center on February 24, 1983. Trace said that the abortion failed to terminate the pregnancy, and she underwent an additional abortion. She sued for the loss of her right ovary and fallopian tube, continuing pain, and medical expenses. (Winnebago County Circuit Court Case No. 85 L 101)
Cindy W., age 19, alleged that she underwent an abortion by Ragsdale at Northern Illinois Women’s Center on June 17, 1981. There, a counselor noted that Cindy was "new to pelvic exams – extremely immature, will go along with this without much thought as she is very dependent on male." Cindy’s attorney faulted Ragsdale with failure to diagnose a tubo-ovarian abscess, and said that Ragsdale did not wash Cindy prior to initiating the abortion. Cindy returned to the clinic on June 29, with severe pains in her side beginning a week and a half after the abortion. Ragsdale diagnosed "her left ovary had blood clots," and prescribed ampicillin and Empirin, After 2 weeks, the medication ran out and the pain returned, but Cindy tolerated the continued pain for 2 more weeks. On July 16, Cindy’s father took her to the ER because she was doubled over in pain. The hospital referred her to her family doctor, who gave Cindy medication. On July 17 the family doctor prescribed medication, and told Cindy to return in 10 days. She returned on July 27 per instructions, with such severe abdominal pain that her doctor admitted her to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) with bilateral tubal ovarian abscesses, diverticulum, and periappendicitis related to the PID. Cindy underwent a laparoscopy, lysis of pelvic adhesions, a right salpingo-oophorectomy, an appendectomy, and a diverticulectomy. She had been admitted on July 27, and remained hospitalized until August 8. Her operative report indicated "right adnexal inflammatory mass completely filled the pelvis, was intimately adherent to the posterior leaf of the right broad ligament and to the peritoneum of the right lateral pelvic wall…. There were several loops of small bowel adherent to the inflammatory mass." The operative report also noted a smaller adherent mass on the left side. Cindy was subsequently re-hospitalized with recurring pelvic infection. The case was dismissed. (Winnebago County Circuit Court Case No. 82-2-319)
Linda M. alleged that she underwent an abortion by Ragsdale at Northern Illinois Women’s Center on October 9, 1979. The suit charged Ragsdale with failure to properly examine Linda prior to discharging her from the facility. She suffered pain and infection due to Ragsdale’s failure to remove all fetal parts. Linda required a total hysterectomy. (Winnebago County Circuit Court No. 81 L 116)
Rita C. alleged failure to provide adequate care for a tubal ligation done May 13, 1980 by R. M. Ragsdale, and his refusal to provide follow-up. Rita required hospitalization. (DeKalb County Circuit Court Case No. 82-L37)
Ragsdale, a National Abortion Federation member, successfully filed suit against the state of Illinois, claiming that standards of care laws, passed in the wake of the Chicago Sun-Times investigation of abortion mills, were too restrictive. (New York Times 9-24-94; Chicago Sun-Times 9-24-94; The Oregonian 11-17-94; Chicago Tribune 9-24-94)