Authorities say two out-of-state doctors who traveled to Maryland to perform late-term abortions have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder, an unusual use of a law that allows for murder charges in the death of a viable fetus.
A grand jury indicted the two doctors after a 16-month investigation, police said.
The investigation began in August 2010 after what authorities say was a botched procedure at Brigham’s clinic in Elkton, located near the border of Maryland and Delaware. An 18-year-old woman who was 21 weeks pregnant had her uterus ruptured and her bowel injured, and rather than call 911, Brigham and Riley drove her to a nearby hospital, where both were uncooperative and Brigham refused to give his name, according to documents filed in a previous investigation by medical regulators.
A search of the clinic after the botched abortion revealed a freezer containing 35 late-term fetuses, including one believed to have been aborted at 36 weeks, the documents show.
Brigham, 55, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy. Riley, 46, faces one count each of first- and second-degree murder and one conspiracy count.
Mind you, it’s also mystifying. Why was there a freezer full of fetuses? But even with all the mystification, when abortion-providing doctors are charged with first degree murder it’s time to get worried.
The state law allows for murder or manslaughter charges to be brought against a person who intends to kill or seriously injure a fetus or who wantonly disregards the safety of a fetus. It does not apply to doctors administering lawful medical care and does not impinge on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.
I don’t see how those two sentences, as they stand, can both be true…No wait, yes I do – “allows for” must mean in cases where a woman is not terminating a pregnancy; assault as opposed to abortion. Is that right?
An item to watch.