On October 11th, 2016, abortionist Robert Rho was arrested on charges of second-degree manslaughter for the death of 30-year-old Jamie Lee Morales, late last month he was sentenced to only fifteen months to four years in prison.

On July 9th, 2016, Morales went to Rho’s private abortion clinic in Flushing, NY (now closed) for an elective second-trimester abortion. Her baby was estimated to be 25-26 weeks gestation — a viable baby if she had given birth. Jamie was turned down by Planned Parenthood because she was past 24 weeks, the legal limit for an abortion in the state of New York. She wound up at Rho’s clinic, where he had no qualms performing an illegal procedure. That day, both the baby and the mother died.

A second-trimester abortion procedure is called a D&E, or dilation and evacuation. It typically is performed over 2-3 days. A combination of medication and laminaria, or synthetic dilation sticks, are used to soften and dilate the cervix over the course of 1-2 days, depending on the gestational age of the child. A medical injection into the uterus may be used to induce fetal demise before surgery to remove the dead child. The day of the evacuation, anesthesia is given intravenously and the child is removed with forceps and/or suction.

Rho performed the entire D&E procedure on Morales in one day, using purely “mechanical” means to open her cervix before removing her possibly-viable baby. He completely botched the rushed operation, perforating Morales’ uterus and lacerating her cervix, uterine artery, and vagina. But that is not all. Rho tried to cover up his mistakes by stitching the lacerated cervix closed, covering the internal bleeding. He only did this after other employees noticed Jamie was bleeding heavily while in the recovery room.

After all this, Morales was woozy, had fallen and hit her head in the bathroom, and was generally incapacitated. Instead of calling an ambulance, Rho went ahead and released Morales into her sister’s care. Morales’ sister eventually called an ambulance for her, and she ended up in a hospital in the Bronx, where she died later that night.

Rho was charged and tried for second-degree manslaughter (or reckless homicide), but at the last minute pled guilty to a lesser charge of criminal negligent homicide. He will now spend 15 months to 4 years in state prison. Although Rho had to give up his medical license and close his clinic where he killed Morales, he was planning on opening another clinic on the East Coast when his trial was over. With a guilty plea and jail time, though, this plan will be very hard for him to carry out.

There was a full media blackout on this trial. Lauren Handy from Operation Rescue attended ten of the 13 trial days as an observer and wrote her observations of the trial proceedings, which can be found here.

We mourn the death of Jamie and her baby. We would like to cling to the hope abortionists who break the law and perform procedures not in line with best medical practices are rare, but it is not so. Rho is not the only abortionist in trouble with the law.

Kermit Gosnell was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder because he killed babies born alive after botched late-term abortions. He was convicted on a count of negligent homicide, just like Rho. He routinely broke the 24-week gestation limit in his state and performed abortions on preborn children 30 weeks or older. Similar to Rho, Gosnell employed staff to carry out duties far beyond what their education and expertise should have allowed.

James Pendergraft prided himself on performing late, second- and third-trimester abortions past state laws’ gestational cutoffs. His medical licence has been suspended multiple times, his facilities’ licenses have been revoked or suspended, and he has been hit with malpractice charges. He traveled around South Carolina performing in-home late-term abortions with illegal drugs and dirty tools which he carried in his car. He was caught when pulled over for a traffic violation. After pleading guilty to ten counts of drug-related offenses in 2017, Pendergraft was handed five years’ probation and a fine. He was also prohibited from ever applying for a medical license in SC.

Bruce Elliot Norman has sent multiple patients to the hospital. He worked in a shoddy, now-closed abortion clinic which continually failed to meet health and safety standards.

Abraham Hodari has killed at least 2 women in botched abortions, forced at least one woman to go through an abortion against her will, has at least 49 lawsuits against him or his clinics, has improperly disposed of medical records, and has numerous other bad deeds to his name.

I wish I could stop here. If you visit AbortionDocs.org, you will find over 1,000 abortion doctors, past and present, and public records associated with many of them. Many of the stories concerning abortion doctors getting into trouble with the law remain at a local level, drawing little attention to a very real problem.

Rho is not an outlier. His story and the stories of other abortionists skirting or outright breaking state laws and harming and killing women, need to be brought to the attention of the American people. This is a widespread, systemic problem and it needs to be recognized and addressed as such.

Website | + posts

I love science and teaching. I am passionate about using those interests to speak for those who can't.

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.