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Woman who regretted abortion loses lawsuit

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

WASHINGTON (BP)--An Illinois appeals court has ruled a Planned Parenthood clinic was not obligated to tell a woman who later regretted her abortion that the procedure would take the life of a human being.


The woman, identified in the case as Mary Doe, had an abortion in 2004 at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago. She later filed suit against the clinic, alleging wrongful death of her unborn child, intentional infliction of emotional distress and malpractice, according to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Doe asked a Planned Parenthood counselor before the procedure if the abortion would end the life of a human being, and the clinic staff member said it would not. She said she would not have gone through with the abortion had the clinic told her the procedure would end a human being's life, according to the news report.

The First District Appellate Court affirmed Aug. 22 a lower court decision dismissing the suit.

"No court, regardless of where it sits, has found a common law duty requiring doctors to tell their pregnant patients that aborting an embryo, or fetus, is the killing of an existing human being," Justice Rodolfo Garcia wrote in the court's opinion, the Daily Law Bulletin reported.

"The negative answer from the Planned Parenthood counselor to the plaintiff's question of whether 'there was already a human being in existence' during the plaintiff's intake evaluation simply reflects the opinion of Planned Parenthood on when life begins," Garcia wrote.


"It was clear that she knew and signed a consent form that 'I know I'm here for an abortion,'" Garcia added. "She knew there was going to be a termination of pregnancy and that she would not have a child."

New Jersey lawyer Harold Cassidy, who argued a similar case in his home state and helped represent Doe, said, "This is a woman's rights case. This is the right of a woman to make a decision herself and get all the information she needs and apply her own discreet, moral or philosophical beliefs as they exist.

"What has happened here is Planned Parenthood replaced her judgment with theirs by denying her the scientific facts and giving her their philosophical viewpoints," Cassidy said, according to the report. "And the court is saying that at Planned Parenthood, she should expect nothing more than getting their philosophical point of view."

Cassidy said he will appeal to the state Supreme Court, the Daily Law Bulletin reported.

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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