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Sherri Finkbine
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TV Personality
    (circa 1932- )
    Host of the Phoenix, Arizona, version of Romper Room
    After taking a tranquilizer that contained thalidomide, which was shown to cause severe birth defects, sued to change Arizona laws that allowed abortion only to save the mother’s life
    Ultimately had an abortion in Sweden (August 18, 1962)
    Had six children – four before, two after the abortion
    Although thalidomide had not been approved in the US, her husband had picked some up while chaperoning high school students on a European tour.
    She had found a hospital in Arizona willing to perform an abortion, but they backed out when she publicized her story in the newspapers.
    She lost the subsequent legal battle when the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against her.
    She attempted to go to Japan for the abortion, but was denied a visa.
    Her second husband was an ob-gyn at the hospital that had turned down her abortion request.
    She went public with her story to alert women to the dangers of thalidomide; she was particularly worried about wives of Arizona National Guard members who had recently returned from Europe.
    She was let go from ‘Romper Room’ and her husband was suspended from his job as a teacher.
    They received so many death threats that the FBI stationed agents outside their home.
    The doctors in Sweden reported that the fetus had no legs and one arm, and was unlikely to have survived.
    In a Gallup poll, a majority approved of her decision to have an abortion.

Credit: C. Fishel

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