Alabama Nurse in Botched Abortion Case Told to Limit Defense Testimony
by Steven Ertelt
July 25, 2008
Montgomery, AL (LifeNews.com) — The nurse in a botched abortion and medical paperwork falsification case has been told to limit her defense testimony. That was the decision of a court that is hearing about Janet F. Onthank King, a nurse at the now-defunct Summit Medical Center abortion business in Birmingham.
King gave the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug to a woman with severely high blood pressure who needed medical attention.
State health officials found significant concerns at Summit and 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.
Defense attorney Richard Jaffe wants to present evidence showing that nurse King was acting under direction of the abortion practitioner. 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.
However, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals released a decision on Friday saying she can’t make that claim.
The court ruled state law makes it clear that only a licensed physician can do abortions and Jaffe can’t bring up the agreement during hearings in the case.
The trial in King’s case was scheduled for January but Attorney General Troy King filed an appeal to prevent the supposed agreement between King and Levich from being admitted during the hearings.
He appealed a decision by Circuit Judge Gloria Bahakel allowing it.
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.
Eventually, Levich allowed her medical license to lapse after Summit was permanently closed.
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