Pro-Life Law Firm Says Supreme Court Should Have Heard Acuna Abortion Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 21, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Law Firm Says Supreme Court Should Have Heard Acuna Abortion Case

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 21
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — The Supreme Court gets thousands of requests to hear cases and can’t devote time to all of them, but a pro-life legal center says a New Jersey lawsuit over a misleading abortion practitioner should have been one of them. The case involves abortion practitioner Sheldon Turkish.

When consulting with Rose Acuna before a 1996 abortion, he told her that her unborn baby was "nothing but some blood."

The case was heralded by some pro-life attorneys as the first chance for the Supreme Court in 35 years to decide whether abortions kills a human being.
After the New Jersey Supreme Court said in November that it won’t reconsider the decision it handed down in September against Acuna, her attorney filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

The high court did not include it when it recently announced the cases it would add to its docket.

Linda Schlueter, the president of the Trinity Legal Center, which filed an amicus brief with the Court in the case, told she is disappointed.

“This shouldn’t be about what a physician believes,” she said. “Even a physician who does not believe that an unborn child is a human being, at the very least, could provide factual information about the characteristics of baby.”

Schlueter says the science of human life is well-established and that an unborn child at the time of most early-term abortions is nothing like what Turkish described.

Caron Strong, a woman who has suffered the damaging effects of an abortion, is also disappointed.

“Allowing a physician to tell a woman that her baby is ‘just blood’ is outrageous,” she said. “This type of lie causes women, at a very vulnerable and stressful time, to make a decision with long-lasting, devastating effects."

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 it’s "nothing but some blood."

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.

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

About 9,000 cases are appealed to the Supreme Court each year, but the Court only takes about 90, so the chances of the case getting a hearing is slim.

The New Jersey Supreme Court’s 5-0 decision last year reversed an appeals court ruling by saying that the case didn’t have to go before a jury.

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