Guilty Plea in Attempted Forced Abortion Case

Dominic L. Holt-Reid entering his guilty plea.

In the first known prosecution in Ohio for the attempted forced abortion of an unborn baby, Dominic L. Holt-Reid pled guilty April 28 to charges of attempted murder, abduction, and illegally possessing a gun. Holt-Reid pulled a gun on his pregnant girlfriend in October 2010 and threatened to shoot her and cause a miscarriage unless she drove to an abortion clinic, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Both mother and baby, who was later born safely, survived and are doing well.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told the Dispatch that he will seek a prison sentence for Holt-Reid. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 9.

The mother, Yolanda M. Burgess, had an older child with Holt-Reid and was pregnant with their second baby. Police allege that they were in a car together October 6 after dropping their child off at school when Holt-Reid pulled a handgun and pointed it at Burgess, threatening that he would shoot her and cause a miscarriage unless she drove to an abortion clinic, the Dispatch reported.

Burgess had made an appointment for an abortion at Founder’s Women’s Health Center in Columbus, scheduled for that morning at 9 a.m. However, police documents stated that she told Holt-Reid that she changed her mind and did not want to abort the baby, according to the Dispatch.

After he threatened her with the gun, she drove to the abortion clinic. Once inside, however, she gave an employee a note and the employee called the police, WBNS-10TV reported.

The Ohio fetal homicide law has been used previously when the unborn baby died without the mother’s consent, but never before when the suspect tried to force the woman to have an abortion. “We’ve prosecuted cases where a fetus was a victim of the homicide several times,” O’Brien told the Associated Press, “but this is the first case like this that I’ve seen.”

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