New Jersey Supreme Court Takes Case Involving Misleading Abortionist

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 13, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Supreme Court Takes Case Involving Misleading Abortionist Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 13, 2006

Trenton, NJ ( — The New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to take a case in which a woman is suing an abortion practitioner saying she should have been told more information about her unborn child and about the emotional and psychological risks of having an abortion.

In April, a New Jersey appeals court ruled that a jury should decide whether the woman who was properly given enough information beforehand. Abortion practitioner Sheldon Turkish appealed that decision and the state’s high court has agreed to take the case.

Turkish told Rose Acuna in 1996 that she should have an abortion, citing problems with her kidneys.

Acuna, who was in about her seventh week of pregnancy at the time, asked Turkish whether the unborn child was a baby by that point and he told her "Don’t be stupid, it’s just some blood."

In lower court cases, Turkish claims he doesn’t remember making the comment and, if asked today, he would say a "7-week pregnancy is not a living human being."

Acuna went on to have the abortion, which Turkish botched, and she required hospitalization afterwards. Nurses told her he had left parts of the baby inside her.

Acuna sued, saying Turkish should have told her more about fetal development and abortion’s medical risks and dangers.

Attorney Harold Cassidy, who represents Acuna, told the Associated Press he welcomes the high court’s review of the case.

The three judge panel of the state appeals court said a jury should determine if she was properly advised, but also threw out a wrongful death claim Acuna filed.

"The issue presented here is quite narrow," the panel ruled. "What medical information is material and must be disclosed by an obstetrician when advising a patient to terminate a pregnancy?"

Judge Ariel Rodriques wrote that a jury should determine what information is appropriate.

Despite allowing the case to move forward, Judge Rodriques appeared to side with Turkish.

"Obviously, the term ‘baby’ meant something different to Acuna and Turkish," he wrote for the panel. "For her, it meant an embryo or fetus; for the doctor, a human being following birth. Arguably, from Turkish’s perspective, he answered correctly, and discharged his duty to his patient by indicating that there was no ‘baby’ there."

In a deposition, Turkish admitted he routinely tells pregnant mothers that unborn children early on in pregnancy are "nothing but some tissue."

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Amy Chambers ruled in November that Turkish was not required to tell Acuna, 36, that the unborn child was a human being. Acuna appealed her decision.