Alabama Woman Can Sue Planned Parenthood Over Botched Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 5, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alabama Woman Can Sue Planned Parenthood Over Botched Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 5, 2006

Birmingham, AL ( — An Alabama state appeals court has ruled that a woman victimized by a botched abortion can proceed with her lawsuit against a Planned Parenthood abortion business blaming it for the medical problems her unborn child now suffers after birth.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that prevented the lawsuit from moving ahead. The court released its decision at the end of last month and ruled in favor of the woman, known as LKDH in court records, proceeding with her suit against Planned Parenthood of Alabama.

Eric Johnston, a Birmingham attorney who has helped state lawmakers craft pro-life legislation, told the Associated Press that the decision is important because it allows women to hold abortion facilities responsible for damaging their babies in botched abortions.

"The fact it was during an abortion doesn’t change that," Johnston told AP.

Larry Rodick, state director of Planned Parenthood and Larry Rodick, state director of Planned Parenthood would not give AP a comment on the case but Hoaglund said the appeals court’s decision is under review and the abortion business is deciding what to do next.

According to the lawsuit, the woman had an abortion at Planned Parenthood’s abortion center in Birmingham. The abortion was unsuccessful and the baby was born with a hole in her heart and an inverted tube leading from her lungs to her heart.

The baby has problems getting enough oxygen to breathe.

Circuit Judge Robert Vance ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood. The appeals court agreed in part saying the woman couldn’t sue on her own behalf but could for her child.

In an opinion for the appeals court, Judge Glenn Murdock wrote that both the state and federal Supreme Courts have not ruled that an abortion facility can "with some blanket of constitutional protection, in negligent or reckless conduct that deforms or injures a child so long as the deformity or injury is inflicted on the child before it leaves the womb."

To favor that position would be to allow abortion centers to operate "as carelessly or recklessly as they wish without bearing any responsibility. … It would be hard to imagine a more troubling development in our law."

The decision is also important because previous court decisions in Alabama have prevented lawsuits over successful abortions.

The case also comes at a time when another Birmingham abortion business is under fire.

The state health board suspended the medical license of Summit Medical Center, abortion practitioner Deborah Lyn Levich and nurse Janet F. Onthank King. The actions come after King gave a woman with a severely high blood pressure and late-term pregnancy the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug.

The woman later gave birth to a stillborn baby and the abortion center falsified its violations of state law in its medical papers to cover up the problems.