New Jersey Abortion Practitioner Didn’t Mislead Woman, Court Rules

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 12, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Abortion Practitioner Didn’t Mislead Woman, Court Rules Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 12,

Trenton, NJ ( — The New Jersey Supreme Court has overturned the ruling of an appeals court and determined that an abortion practitioner didn’t mislead a woman. Rosa Acuna says she was incorrectly told by abortion practitioner Sheldon Turkish that she was not aborting a human life when she had an abortion in 1996.

Acuna said she should have been told more information about her unborn child and about the emotional and psychological risks of having an abortion beforehand.

A kidney disorder made Acuna’s pregnancy difficult and Turkish advised her to have an abortion. She was about six to seven weeks pregnant at the time of the abortion.

According to the lawsuit, Acuna asked if "the baby was already there" and Turkish replied that its "nothing but some blood."

In April 2006, a three-judge panel of a state appeals court said a jury should determine if she was properly advised, but also threw out a wrongful death claim Acuna filed.

On Wednesday, the state’s high court ruled that Turkish didn’t have to tell Acuna that the abortion would kill her baby. The 5-0 decision also reversed the appeals court ruling by saying that the case didn’t have to go before a jury.

"We know of no common law duty requiring a physician to instruct the woman that the embryo is an ‘existing human being,’ and suggesting that an abortion is tantamount to murder," Justice Barry Albin wrote for the court.

Albin claimed the statement that an abortion kills a human being "has no broad support in either the medical community or society."

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision ultimately reinstates the trial court’s ruling that the case should be thrown out.

Still, the high court acknowledged that an abortion practitioner should inform women of the medical risks associated with having an abortion.

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

Acuna sued Turkish, saying the abortion caused psychological trauma including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosexual dysfunction. She was hospitalized for an incomplete abortion weeks later and a nurse told her that Turkish had left parts of the unborn child inside her.