Catherine Barnard

Catherine Barnard1960s, 30s, colorado, illegaldoctorSUMMARY: Catherine Barnard, age 35, died on April 6, 1969 after an abortion perpetrated in Oklahoma City by Dr. Virgil Jobe.

On April 6, 1969, 35-year-old Mrs. Catherine Laureen Barnard of Arvada, Colorado, flew from her home to Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City, and evidently took a taxi to the office of 67-year-old Dr. Virgil Roy Jobe. A cab driver testified that he’d picked Catherine up at Jobe’s office and taken her to the airport, but she ended up instead at South Community Hospital. There, doctors found her gravely ill from a punctured uterus and small intestine. They told her prior to surgery that they needed to know what had happened to her, and she told them Jobe had perpetrated an abortion. A judge had to rule whether or not Catherine knew she was dying when she confessed to the doctors so that he could decide if her statement was a legally admissible deathbed statement, or inadmissible hearsay.[1]

There was, however, other evidence that pointed to Jobe, including two prescriptions written by Jobe — one for cold medicine and one for pain medicine — both in Catherine’s purse, along with her plane ticket and a paper with Jobe’s office address and phone number written on it.
Around 40 women, identified as abortion patients from Jobe’s records, were questioned about his practice, and offered immunity in exchange for their testimony about Jobe’s practice.[3] A mother who brought her 17-year-old daughter to Jobe for an abortion said he obviously ran a busy abortion practice, since when they arrived at his practice two women were waiting outside in cars, another was trying to get in through the back door, and others were waiting inside. She had paid $100 for the abortion. Jobe took her daughter into the exam room to do the abortion and, as I have often seen in legal abortion cases, he responded to the girl’s screams by telling the other to “shut her up” so that people outside the room wouldn’t hear her.

Jobe, who was later also charged with performing an abortion on the 17-year-old Oklahoma girl, was convicted in Catherine’s death. However, somehow after his conviction the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor negligent homicide charge and Jobe was freed after paying a $1,000 fine.[4]

An Oklahoma woman, Mrs. Judy Gaye Wells, faced charges as an accessory after the fact for eluding police and withholding information. Wells herself was charged with availing herself of Jobe’s services for an abortion, which I find interesting because this is the first case I’d encountered in which the woman undergoing the abortion was also charged. Jobe’s office assistant, Mrs. Dorothy Ellen Whitten, was also charged with murder for Catherine’s death.[5]
Jobe was sentenced to five years in prison for the Oklahoma girl’s abortion[6] , but was out on appeal in 1972 when he was charged in federal court with unlawful distribution of amphetamines, which is not unusual. Many abortionists, both legal and illegal, also ran afoul of authorities for running pill mills. Jobe would see as many as 100 to 125 patients a day in his office, prescribing the narcotics for weight loss without even performing examinations.

Jobe lost his appeal on the abortion death and went to prison, but like many other abortionists who had killed patients, he leveraged the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision into a retroactive declaration that the abortion that had killed Catherine was legal. No sooner was he freed, though, when he was sent back to prison on the drug charges.
StealCredit.jpgCatherine’s abortion was typical of criminal abortions in that it was performed by a physician.

In the 1960s, we see the 20th Century downward trend in abortion mortality resumed — until a brief upturn starting in 1968, when some states first started loosening their abortion laws. For more, see Abortion Deaths in the 1960’s.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion.


  • Rocky Mountain News Apr. 9, 1969;
  • “Charge on a Doctor,” Kansas City (MO) Times, Apr. 10, 1969
  • “Did Patient Know? Case Against Doctor Hangs on Question,” The Corpus Christi (TX) Times, Jun. 18, 1969
  • “Oklahoma’s Abortion Law To Be Challenged,” Lawton (OK) Constitution, Apr. 7, 1970
  • “Woman Testifies Many Waiting For Abortions,” Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, Jun. 20, 1969
  • “Dr. Jobe Guilty, Draws 5-Year Abortion Term”, The Oklahoman, Oct. 25, 1969; obituary
  • “Oklahoma Coed Faces Charges,” The Lawton (OK) Constitution, Feb. 12, 1970
  • “Officers Testify Against Doctor,” Lawton (OK) Constitution, Dec. 19, 1972
  • AP snippet in Lawton (OK) Constitution, Feb. 8, 1973
  • “Two Are Freed In Abortion Case,” Abilene (TX) Reporter, Feb. 9, 1973
  • United Staes v. Virgil R. Jobe, M.D., 487 F.2d 268 (10th Cir. 1973)


CatherineBarnard_Lawton_OK) Constitution_Tue__Apr_7__1970_.jpg






  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. botched abortion
  29. california
  30. chicago
  31. colorado
  32. connecticut
  33. cover-up
  34. death
  35. deaths
  36. deception
  37. delay in transport
  38. delay in treatment
  39. district of columbia
  40. dumped body
  41. ectopic
  42. embolism
  43. falsifying forms
  44. fetal indications
  45. florida
  46. former criminal abortionist
  47. george tiller
  48. georgia
  49. hemorrhage death
  50. hospitals
  51. illegal – doctor
  52. illegal – midwife
  53. illegal – nurse
  54. illegal – paramedical
  55. illegal – post roe
  56. illegal – unknown
  57. illegal – untrained
  58. illegal abortion
  59. illinois
  60. inadequate documents
  61. inadequate equipment
  62. inadequate resuscitation
  63. incomplete abortion
  64. indiana
  65. infection
  66. kansas
  67. legal abortion
  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

  1. ^
  2. ^ “Did Patient Know? Case Against Doctor Hangs on Question,” The Corpus Christi (TX) Times, Jun. 18, 1969
  3. ^ “Jobe ‘Patients’ May Be Called,” The Lawton (OK) Constitution, Aug. 7, 1969
  4. ^ “Abortionist’s Murder Charged Reduced,” The Lawton (OK) Constitution, Dec. 17, 1970.
  5. ^ “Oklahoma Coed Faces Charges, The Lawton (OK) Times, Feb. 12, 1979
  6. ^ “Abortion Trial Set for Doctor,” The Lawton (OK) Constitution, Jun. 20, 1969
  7. ^ “Jobe Lawyer Eyes Change of Venue,” The Lawton (OK) Constitution, Nov. 29, 1972