Doc Who Says He's Done 40K Abortions Pleads Guilty for One

Prosecutors say Robert Rho botched 30-year-old woman's abortion, leading to her death
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2018 11:23 AM CDT
'Greed and Arrogance': Doc Pleads Guilty to Fatal Abortion
In this April 27, 2018, photo, Dr. Robert Rho walks toward a courtroom at Queens County Criminal Court in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(Newser) – A doctor's attorney says a death under his client's watch was tragic but not criminal; an assistant DA calls it a case of "greed and arrogance." Either way, Dr. Robert Rho, who says he's done at least 40,000 abortions, has pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide after a six-month-pregnant patient he performed an abortion on bled to death after the procedure, per the AP. That patient was 30-year-old Buffalo, NY, woman Jamie Lee Morales (some sources spell her first name Jaime), who had reportedly traveled to Rho's clinic in Queens in 2016 to terminate her pregnancy for a fee of $6,000. But the abortion went awry, leaving Morales with a torn cervix, punctured uterine wall, and slashed uterine artery, and hemorrhaging blood. Rho reportedly tried to stanch the bleeding with another procedure, but it didn't work.

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Prosecutors say instead of calling 911, even after Morales had collapsed in his clinic's bathroom, Rho sent Morales home with her sister. Morales never made it to her sister's Bronx home: She passed out during the ride, at which point medics were called. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman tells the New York Post his client's plea deal was arrived at in the nick of time: Just as he and the DA were about to show Justice Gregory Lasak the agreement, jurors announced they'd reached a verdict. "It was like taking a half-court shot at the buzzer of Game 7," Lichtman says. Now, instead of facing up to 15 years in prison for second-degree manslaughter, the 50-something Rho could get a sentence of 1 1/3 years to four years, though Lichtman predicts Rho will do about 10 months. (The toughest US abortion law is here.)

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