Guest Author - Suzanne Gregory
Whether you're for choice or against it, you will probably find this article disturbing. While most anti abortion laws set choice and women back, I would have to say at least this once, it was a good thing it was implemented. No matter your stance on late term abortion, I can't help but feel that taking these two off the streets was for the best.
For the first time in the United States, doctors have been charged with murder for performing late term abortions. A grand jury in Maryland indicted both of the out of state doctors this week after multiple murder counts and a count of conspiracy to commit murder.
Facing charges are Dr. Steven Chase Brigham, 55, of Vorhees, New Jersey, who is currently being held in the Camden County Jail pending extradition to Maryland. Dr. Nicola Irene Riley, of Salt Lake City, Utah, is in custody in the Salt Lake City Jail also awaiting extradition.
Maryland enacted a law that made it a crime to kill or injure a fetus in 2005, and is now one of 38 states to have a fetal homicide law. Before now, these laws have only been used against those who attack pregnant women and cause death or injury to their unborn child. This will be the first time the law will be applied to doctors performing abortions on pregnant women who are past the gestation of viability.
Elkton, Maryland began an investigation of the two doctors after an 18-year-old woman underwent an abortion in Vorhees New Jersey. The procedure was started in New Jersey but Dr. Riley drove the woman to Maryland to finish the procedure. New Jersey has tougher laws on late term abortions than Maryland.
While at the Maryland clinic under the care of both doctors, during the procedure, the woman’s uterus was punctured. It is alleged that the woman was dropped off at a local hospital. Her injuries were so severe she was later transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Officers searched the doctor’s office used by Brigham and Riley. Found in the investigation were 35 fetuses and fetal parts in an office freezer. Police also found records indicating the age of the fetuses to be between 28 and 35 weeks. A fetus is considered to be viable after 23 weeks, making abortion illegal.
As a result of the investigation Dr. Brigham's license to practice medicine in Maryland was suspended. Dr. Riley, who was never licensed in the state, has been warned not to practice again.
The woman involved was not named but did survive the procedure.