Abortion Practitioner Cleared of Wrongdoing in Botched Abortion Case
by Steven Ertelt
January 1, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In a surprising decision, a federal appeals court ruled that an abortion practitioner did nothing wrong when he forcibly restrained a woman during an abortion, despite her pleas for him to stop and let her leave.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld a lower court’s decision dismissing the lawsuit filed against abortion practitioner William Egherman, the Aware Woman Center for Choice abortion facility in Melbourne, Florida, and its former owners.
Egherman and Patricia and Ed Windle, who owned the abortion business, claim the woman was restrained in order to protect her life while she was medically stabilized following a botched abortion.
"If his motivation was to protect her life and safety, then she could not successfully prove a violation," the court wrote in its decision.
The woman filed the lawsuit under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, a bill aimed at making sure abortion protesters don’t impede access to abortion facilities.
She says she went to have an abortion in 1997 and she experienced pains in her stomach and wanted to leave. She says Egherman held her down and continued to perform the abortion.
Egherman said that if the woman had gotten up to leave it would have jeopardized her health.
Egherman ended up botching the abortion and perforating the woman’s uterus and lacerating her colon. She was taken to a hospital emergency room where doctors removed her unborn child and performed surgery to repair the damage from the abortion.
"Hopefully, this brings some finality to the case," Andrew Menyhart, attorney for the abortion facility, told the Associated Press. He said he expected the woman to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Pro-life advocates say the decision is a victory for abortion advocates who are seeking to cover up another botched abortion case with claims that an abortion practitioner acted in the woman’s best interested after he realized his mistake.
After the botched abortion, local pro-life advocates helped the woman file suit against the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).
The AHCA found no violations and an attorney for the agency wrote, "Egherman did not breach the standard of care. Perforation of the uterus is a known and common complication of an abortion. Egherman acted timely and properly when he realized that the perforation might have occurred."
Egherman also traveled from Florida to perform abortions for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. However, in 1998, the abortion business fired him. Egherman, in turn, sued Planned Parenthood saying it fired him without cause. Planned Parenthood filed a motion to dismiss the case
Egherman started working at the Aware Woman abortion facility in 1997 and between March 29, 1997 and September 4, 1998, five women were sent or taken to the emergency room after botched abortions. The state of Florida took no disciplinary actions against him.