Abortion Doc Who Infected Women With Hepatitis C Pleads Guilty

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 12, 2012   |   12:56PM   |   Croydon, Australia

An abortion practitioner in Australia who infected 50 women with the same strain of hepatitis C has pleaded guilty.

The heath chief of the Australian state of Victoria released the accusations against the abortion practitioner in April 2010 concerning the infections at the Croydon Day Surgery abortion business. The health department investigation into the abortion operation where James Latham Peters was the anesthesiologist involved asking as many as 3,600 women who had abortions at his center since 2006 about their experience at the abortion facility.

The Victorian Police and the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria revealed the patients’ infections are an identical genetic match to his own hepatitis C strain in 22 of the confirmed 44 cases. Another 19 women shoed signs of infection but officials could not confirm whether they obtained it from the abortion center.

Now, James Latham Peters, 63, pleaded guilty in the Victorian Supreme Court to 55 counts of negligently causing serious injury.

Peters stood with his hands behind his back and said “guilty” 55 times as the charges were read to him. His face remained expressionless throughout the arraignment.

Some of Peters’ victims were in court to hear his guilty pleas.

His committal hearing in May was told that Peters has been addicted to the drug fentanyl, an opioid used in general anaesthesia, since 1996.

Prosecutors alleged during the committal hearing he had known of his hepatitis C status since 1996.

Peters was bailed to appear in the Supreme Court for a two-day pre-sentence hearing beginning on February 11.

Justice Paul Coghlan urged the media to take the utmost precaution to protect the identity of the victims. He said the victims in the case “are a group of the most highly innocent people you could ever come across” and he said they might be subjected to attack or criticism by others in the community if their identities were known.



Justice Coghlan said this would make worse the terrible situation in which the women found themselves.

One mother of two who has an 98.8 percent match of the virus to Peters said she is upset officials have not charged him in connection with the infections. She told the Herald Sun, “I’m blown away that it has taken this long. I’m mortified, I just feel let down.”

Peters has been prohibited from practicing medicine and he reportedly has a history of drug usage and was convicted of possessing child pornography. In 1996, he was convicted of forging more than 100 prescriptions for pethidine. The Age newspaper reported that the Croydon Day Surgery abortion business knew of the convictions but hired Peters anyway.