NY abortionist charged with manslaughter in death of woman in botched second-trimester abortion

By Dave Andrusko

Dr. Robert Rho seen in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday afternoon. (TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Dr. Robert Rho seen in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday afternoon.
(TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

On Tuesday we posted about manslaughter charges that were about to be leveled against a Queens, New York gynecologist whose 30-year-old patient bled to death three months ago following a botched abortion.

A story in today’s New York Daily News fills in details of yesterday’s hearing before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak.

Lasak ordered Dr. Robert Rho released on $400,000 bail.

“He had to surrender his passport and not engage in medical practice until the case is over,” according to reporter Graham Rayman. “He is slated to return to court Nov. 15.”

As we reported, Jamie Lee Morales, using the name Thaycha Ruiz, went to the Liberty Women’s health clinic on July 9, for a second-trimester abortion, accompanied by her sister.

Rayman reports

During the surgery, Rho allegedly hit her cervix, damaged her vaginal wall, and opened a cut in an artery that goes through the uterus.

In the recovery room, Morales noticed she was still bleeding vaginally, prosecutor Brad Leventhal said. She had lost a large amount of blood and needed a second operation.

Once that operation was over, she was told to go to the hospital if the bleeding started again. She was allowed to leave — even though she appeared off-kilter and had collapsed at least once. As she was driven to her sister’s Bronx home, she lost consciousness.

Morales was taken to a Bronx hospital, where she was given six units of blood but died that night.

Rho’s defense attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, argued Rho had no criminal liability in Morales’ death.

“There is no question there is a tragic occurrence here, but it wasn’t criminal,” Lichtman said. “Of course I think he’s innocent.”

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In an extremely revealing comment, Lichtman told the court, “There was nothing that was particularly different about this case,” nothing different from the “thousands of Rho [abortion] procedures.”

In almost throwaway line, Layman wrote, “The fetus was recovered from a black garbage bag outside the clinic door.”

Rho faces up to 15 years for allegedly botching the abortion he performed on Morales. The 53-year-old Rho is also accused of failing to take care of her afterward.