by Steven Ertelt
August 29, 2007
Rome, Italy (LifeNews.com) — The investigation has begun in the case of a botched abortion done on a woman carrying twins. One of the unborn children was healthy and the other was afflicted with Down syndrome and the target of the abortion. Now, the mother of the twins and the abortion practitioner are speaking out.
The case is raising the ugly specter of abortions done to kill disabled people.
Doctors told Italian media that the babies moved during the abortion procedure and changed position compared to their locations during a pre-abortion examination.
The mother, who has a young son, said her life had been ruined by the abortion.
The unnamed woman is 38-years-old and was 18 weeks pregnant at the time of the abortion — done at the San Paolo hospital in Milan in June.
"Neither my husband nor I can sleep at night," she told the Corriere della Sera newspaper. She said the happiness she and her husband had about the pregnancy has become heartbreak.
They are "truly desperate over this terrible mistake," she said and added they are consulting with attorneys to determine what to do next.
Meanwhile, Anna Maria Marconi, the abortion practitioner, said the woman requested the abortion after an amniocentesis test pointed to the Down syndrome.
She said her conscience was clear and that she had no reason to believe she did anything wrong — pointing to the changed position of the babies during the abortion.
She called that an "act of fate that could not have been foreseen" and said hospital officials have taken her side in the matter.
Giorgio Bolis, the head of obstetrics and gynecology at the San Paolo hospital, said such cases were "very rare indeed" and said an internal hospital probe showed "no procedural errors."
After doctors realized their mistake, they notified the woman in question. She returned to the hospital to have the disabled baby aborted as well and then reported the doctors to the police.
This is the second time that an abortion planned for a disabled baby has gone wrong.
In March, a baby boy died who became the victim of an abortion after doctors failed a disability test on him. Physicians advised his mother to have an abortion after they had misdiagnosed a physical deformity but the boy survived the procedure.
Doctors at the teaching hospital Careggi performed two ultrasounds on the boy and his mother and they said he had a defective esophagus. That’s a disorder that surgery could have corrected after birth in some cases.
However, when they went to abort the baby boy, they discovered he was healthy and desperately tried to resuscitate him.
The boy was born healthy and lived for six days following the failed abortion, which was done at 22 weeks into the pregnancy.
Italy’s abortion law allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in certain cases but it also requires doctors to do all they can to save the life of a baby who survives a botched abortion attempt.
There are about 138,000 abortions that take place annually in the European nation.