Trial Against Alabama Nurse in Botched Abortion, Falsification Case Postponed
by Steven Ertelt
January 30, 2008
Birmingham, AL (LifeNews.com) — The trial against a nurse who gave the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug to a woman with severely high blood pressure who needed medical attention has been postponed. Janet Onthank King is accused of unlicensed practice of medicine and fabricating the abortion center’s records in an attempt to cover up what happened.
Last year, state health officials found significant concerns at the Summit Medical Center abortion center in Birmingham.
The abortion facility was permanently closed in June 2006 after state health officials found numerous violations, including the botched abortion case.
Following the incident, King falsified the medical records and authorities eventually charged her with misdemeanor charges including performing illegal abortions. The abortion center nurse could face six months on each conviction.
The trial in her case, scheduled Monday before Circuit Judge Gloria Bahakel, has been postponed after an appeal filed by Attorney General Troy King’s office.
King spokesman Chris Bence told AP that the attorney general has a "technical disagreement" with some of the evidence in the case.
According to a Birmingham News report, defense attorney Richard Jaffe wants to present evidence showing that nurse King was acting under direction of the abortion practitioner — something state law allowed.
Jaffe claims abortion practitioner Deborah Lyn Levich directed King to give the abortion drug to the woman, even though she was in the latter stages of pregnancy. Eventually, Levich allowed her medical license to lapse after Summit was permanently closed.
Attorney General King disagrees and has appealed Judge Bahakel’s decision to allow Jaffe to proceed.
The defense lawyer has 21 days to respond and he told AP that the case could take some time to resolve.
"We’ll have to wait to see what the Court of Criminal Appeals does before we can go to the next phase, which is trial," he said.
After the inspections at Summit, state health officials said they found "egregious lapses in care, including non-physicians performing abortions, severely underestimating the gestational age of a fetus, failure to appropriately refer or treat a patient with a dangerously elevated blood pressure, and performing an abortion on a late-term pregnancy."
The woman in the botched abortion case later gave birth to a stillborn baby because the drug is only allowed for use in the early parts of pregnancy.