Mississippi Abortion Practitioners May Be Held Liable for Complications

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 14, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mississippi Abortion Practitioners May Be Held Liable for Complications

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 14, 2003

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Under a proposal that may be floated at the state legislature next year, abortion practitioners would be held financially accountable for the medical complications that arise following an abortion.

Those who performed abortions should be required to pay for the cost of medical treatment of complications, Pat Cartrette, the Executive Director of Right to Life of Jackson, told LifeNews.com.

"Mississippi Medicaid has been billed almost $2 million to treat 670 women for complications following abortion for the five and a half years for which we have data. This is an average of two to three women per week and this matches what is reported to us from emergency rooms," Cartrette explained.

Mississippi is one of eighteen states with Right to Know laws that require abortion facilities to present information to women prior to abortion. Such facts include information about abortion risk’s and complications.

Cartrette tells LifeNews.com that abortion facilities are violating the Right to Know law and well as other abortion regulations.

"We have documented violations of both laws that were revealed in Health Department inspections of the facilities just recently and in years past. There is surely a link between the violations and the injuries — yet our Health Department does not asses fines or any other penalties," Cartrette said.

The proposal is similar to environmental legislation. Under some environmental laws, if a governmental agency or department fails to act upon violations, the governor or a citizens group can initiate proceedings.

State Sen. Alan Nunnelee (R-Tupelo), a member of the Public Health and Welfare Committee, said he would support such a bill. "If there are follow-up problems that are caused by that abortion, then the doctor that caused those problems should be the one to pay for it," he said.

Rica Lewis-Payton, the executive director of the Division of Medicaid, said Medicaid paid out only $51,000 towards post-abortion complications in 2002, and some of the money went to help women who suffered miscarriages.

Abortion advocates are expected to oppose the proposal.

Carlton Reeves, a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union in Mississippi, called the idea "crazy."

William Roberts, executive director of the Mississippi State Medical Association, opposed the idea as well saying it is "unfair."