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Thomas Hicks: Who was doctor who sold 200 babies on the black market?

Dr. Thomas Hicks
Who was Dr. Thomas Hicks, who sold more than 200 newborn babies? Pic credit: via TLC/YouTube

Thomas Hicks was a doctor who ran an illegal baby adoption service that sold more than 200 newborns during the ’50s and early ’60s. Hicks illegally sold the babies through the back door of his clinic, Hicks Community Clinic, in McCaysville, Georgia.

TLC’s three-night special, Taken At Birth, which premiered on the channel on October 9, follows the story of Jane Blasio and her fellow “Hicks Babies” searching for their birth parents. Blasio teamed up with TLC’s Long Lost Family co-hosts Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner to help the “Hicks Babies” find their roots and unravel the mystery behind Hicks’ black market baby adoption ring.

If you have been watching TLC’s Taken At Birth since it premiered on October 9 and wondered who Thomas Hicks was, here is everything you need to know.

Who was Thomas Hicks?

Thomas Hicks was born on October 18, 1888.

He obtained his medical degree from Emory University, Atlanta, in 1917. He practiced as a doctor for some years in Copperhill, TN. But after he was found guilty of illegally selling narcotic pain killers, he had his medical license revoked and served some time in federal prison.

After he left prison, he worked for some time as a doctor treating employees of the Tennessee Copper Co., a mining company. He was fired from his job after his employers uncovered irregularities in his claims files.

He then opened the Hicks Community Clinic in McCaysville, a small town in Georgia. He soon became well known as a doctor willing to perform illegal abortions. Women in McCaysville and surrounding districts came to his clinic, but his patients were reportedly mostly poor women from North Georgia and Eastern Tennessee.

The operation remained clandestine because abortion was illegal in the country at the time. His patients allegedly paid about $100 to perform abortions.

Some years after he started offering abortion services, he also began secretly running an illegal baby adoption service that relied on word-of-mouth advertising. He obtained the babies by convincing some patients to carry their pregnancy to term.

In some cases, he reportedly lied to his patients that their babies died and secretly sold the babies. He would issue a fake birth certificate to couples who bought the babies but kept no records of the birth mothers. He then sold the newborn babies to couples for up to $1,000.

Hicks was eventually arrested and indicted on charges of performing an illegal abortion. While he lost his medical license in 1964, he never served jail time for it. While he was found guilty of performing illegal abortions, the truth about his black market baby adoption ring remained a secret at the time.

Hicks died of leukemia at the age of 83, on March 5, 1972. The truth about Hicks’ baby adoption ring came to light in 1997. Since that time, several Hicks Babies set out to learn out about their origins.

In 2015, ABC teamed up with Ancestry.com to help the Hicks Babies find their birth parents. They conducted DNA tests and tried to match them with members of the local community in McCaysville and elsewhere. Sadly, for many of the Hicks Babies, the search continued fruitlessly for decades.

TLC’s Taken At Birth is the latest effort to help the Hicks Babies find their birth parents and biological relatives.

Blasio, who is also a Hicks Baby, is leading the investigation to uncover the whole truth about Hicks’ baby adoption ring with TLC’s Long Lost Family co-hosts Lisa Joyner and Chris Jacobs.

Taken At Birth is a three-night special that airs Wednesday, October 9 through Friday, October 11, from 9 PM-11 PM (ET/PT) on TLC.


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