Ruling Allowing New Jersey Abortion Practitioner to Mislead Women Appealed

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ruling Allowing New Jersey Abortion Practitioner to Mislead Women Appealed Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24,

Trenton, NJ ( — An attorney for a woman victimized by an abortion is appealing the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court, which determined that an abortion practitioner didn’t mislead her. 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.

Two weeks ago 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.

On Monday, Acuna’s attorney, Harold Cassidy, filed a motion for reconsideration and re-argument as a last step before a U.S. Supreme Court filing.

He is filing a motion for plenary reconsideration of the September 12 decision and plans to make an announcement about that at a press conference on Tuesday.

In taking the action, Acuna notes that she is prepared to take her case to the U.S. Supreme Court but has "a deep respect for the New Jersey Supreme Court."

"We feel it is important to provide the court an opportunity to correct what we feel are errors, before I file in the U.S. Supreme Court," she said in a statement received.

"The right to choose has no meaning if it is not a right to make an informed choice," she added.

Cassidy called the high court’s decision "a departure from the existing law that places a premium on the need to give information to a woman that she wants to know in order to preserve her autonomy in matters so deeply personal to her."

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.

"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.