South Africa Abortion Practitioner Denies Negligence in Botched Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 18, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Africa Abortion Practitioner Denies Negligence in Botched Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 18
, 2006

Pretoria, South Africa ( — A South African abortion practitioner denied in a court hearing that he was negligent in an abortion that left a woman unable to have children. The woman is suing G. M. M. Leeuw who allegedly botched her abortion in 1999 at a Marie Stopes abortion business in Pretoria.

Leeuw denied the abortion he did caused the laceration in her cervix that ultimate caused her to develop a severe infection requiring an emergency hysterectomy.

Leeuw also told Judge Willie Hartzenberg that he never attempted a second abortion on the woman in a subsequent visit to the abortion center. He insisted he saw the woman only once, according to a Pretoria News report.

The abortion practitioner also told the court that he used a number 10 curette when doing the abortion, but her defense attorney said that he had used a number 12 curette, a larger one, instead. As a result, the woman’s cervix was damaged when Leeuw cut a five centimeter hole in it.

The unnamed 31 year-old woman is suing for R500,000 ($68,000 US) saying he did not have the skills necessary to do abortions.

The woman’s lawsuit indicates that Leeuw tried three times to complete the abortion and eventually told her he had failed. He instructed her to go to Pretoria Academic Hospital or to return to the abortion building the next day saying she may have a miscarriage before then.

She returned to the abortion business and another abortion practitioner attempted to complete the abortion but stopped and told her her cervix was too narrow and had been injured in the previous abortion attempt.

Another person examined her and said he could not repair the injury because it had become infected.

The woman went to see her family doctor after that he referred her to a local hospital. There, she had a miscarriage and required a hysterectomy because of the infection and the damage the abortion caused.

The woman wrote to the Medical Council, but was apparently told no actions would be taken against Leeuw because she had not proved he was negligent.

Leeuw could only communicate with the woman through a nurse since he did not speak Afrikaans.