Abortionist pleads guilty to lesser charge in death of woman he aborted at 25 weeks

By Dave Andrusko

Abortionist Robert Rho (left) in Queens Criminal Court.
(Todd Maisel/New York Daily News)

Abortionist Robert Rho, who said he had performed 40,000 abortions over his career, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to criminally negligent homicide in the 2016 death of Jamie Lee Morales. Rho aborted her at 25 weeks for which he had charged her $6,000.

Lichtman “and DA Brown struck their deal a little after 3 p.m. – on the third day of deliberations,” the New York Post reported.

In a statement, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, “Sadly, a 30-year-old woman lost her life as a result of the surgery.” He went on to say, “The doctor has now accepted responsibility and admitted he failed to realize the damage he’d done and did not provide appropriate and timely medical care following the surgery.”

By contrast Jeffrey Lichtman, Rho’s attorney, called the agreement a “monumental victory.”

Rho “had faced a top charge second-degree manslaughter, punishable by 5 years and 15 years in prison,” the Associated Press reported. Rho, who will be sentenced by Justice Gregory Lasak on June 26, faces up to four years in prison, but Lichtman insists he expects a sentence of less than a year.

“It’s about greed and arrogance,” Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal said in closing arguments. “Jaime Morales bled to death because this defendant did nothing.”

Morales went to Rho’s Liberty Women’s Health of Queens with her sister on July 9, 2016. “During the surgery, Rho caused a laceration in her cervix, a perforation of the uterine wall and a disruption and transection of the uterine artery, officials said.”

Officials said Rho then “failed to provide the woman with appropriate and timely medical attention” when she bled profusely, Newsday reported. “Rho performed a second surgery to stop the bleeding, prosecutors said, but didn’t realize Morales needed emergency medical care.”

After collapsing in a vehicle during the drive to her sister’s home, Morales was transported to a hospital where she was treated for vaginal bleeding, Zachary R. Dowdy reported. “She was pronounced dead the same night, officials said.”

After Ms. Morales’s death, Rho closed his abortion clinic and surrendered his medical license.

Buried near the end of the AP story is this insight into Rho’s history.

Even before Morales’ abortion, the doctor had been investigated by state officials over concerns that he was performing procedures improperly and using assistants who lacked medical training, witnesses said at the trial.