QUEENS, New York (Christian Examiner) – A New York doctor has been arrested and charged with manslaughter after botching an abortion procedure and allowing his patient to go home to die, the New York Daily News has reported.
According to police, Dr. Robert Rho of Liberty Women's Healthcare in Flushing performed the abortion procedure on Jamie Lee Morales, 30, during her second trimester in July.
During the procedure, Rho reportedly nicked the artery that supplies blood to the uterus and Morales, who checked into the clinic under a false name, began to bleed heavily. She was still bleeding in the recovery room and was told another procedure would stop the bleeding.
She was sent home – weakened and unable to walk on her own – and told to go to the hospital if the bleeding resumed. On the way to her sister's home, she lost consciousness.
Morales was taken to a hospital in the Bronx and was given six units of blood. She died late in the evening July 9.
Rho is charged with criminal medical negligence in failing to continue care for his patient, but the doctor's attorney rejects that claim, citing Rho's thousands of successful abortion procedures.
"There was nothing that was particularly different about this case," Rho's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said. "This is a highly trained, highly experienced doctor who handles difficult abortions. I think this is a civil matter."
"There is no question there is a tragic occurrence here, but it wasn't criminal," Lichtman also said.
Lichtman, who claims his client is innocent, said it is unusual for an abortion-related death to be prosecuted in criminal court because of the inherent risks in the procedure (which abortion advocates say is safe).
"There's a reason why decades have gone without anybody being charged with homicide in an abortion case in New York," Lichtman said. "Prosecutors have realized that there is some risk to these procedures, and sometimes unforeseen complications can occur, and sadly, women die on rare occasion."
Those words did not sit well with pro-life advocates.
Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, told LifeSiteNews the doctor is anything but innocent because he "kills people for a living" and "with impunity."
"So the fact that one of the mothers who used his deadly service wound up dead as well is really no concern of his," Brown said. "We hope the court throws the book at this butcher."
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman also told the pro-life news site that Rho's attorney was callous. Morales, he said, was "butchered" and then "kicked to the curb."
"From statements in news reports, it seems that Robert Rho's attorney thinks we should just shrug off the death of Jaime Lee Morales as an unexpected abortion complication," Newman said. "But when a mistake by an abortionist takes a mother's life, we cannot simply take a 'things happen' attitude."
Morales' aborted child, which became evidence in the case, was found in a garbage bag outside the door of the clinic.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak released Rho on $400,000 bail, but not before confiscating his passport. He will return to court Nov. 15 and cannot practice medicine while the case is adjudicated.
According to Lichtman, Rho has aborted 40,000 children in 23 years. He said his client could face up to 15 years in prison.