Jury deliberations begin in case of woman who died following botched late-term abortion

By Dave Andrusko

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

Editor’s note. Since this story was posted, Robert Rho “pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide in Queens Supreme Court, in connection to the 2016 death of 30-year-old Bronx mom Jamie Lee Morales,” the New York Post reported. “Rho could go to prison for between 1 ⅓ years to 4 years, though defense lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman estimated his client will go away for about 10 months.”

Nineteen months ago NRL News Today reported on the case of New York abortionist Robert Rho who had just been charged with manslaughter after a woman, who was 25 weeks pregnant, died from a badly botched abortion.

On Tuesday a jury in the Queens borough of New York heard closing arguments in the case against Rho on trial in the death of 30-year-old Jamie Lee Morales. Jury deliberations began today. He stands accused of botching the abortion and failing to care for Ms. Morales.

According to the Sacramento Bee, earlier today the judge said “jurors could consider a lesser charge of negligent homicide if they don’t convict Dr. Robert Rho of second-degree manslaughter.”

“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.”

The Associated Press reported

During the operation, Rho severed Morales’ uterine aorta, ripped her cervix and pierced her uterine wall. Profuse post-operative bleeding forced the doctor to perform another procedure, but that did not fix the damage, prosecutors said.

Rather than call an ambulance, prosecutors said, Rho sent Morales home with her sister, despite signs she was in grave condition, because he wanted to get back to seeing other patients.

Morales “passed out in her sister’s car,” the Daily Mail reported. “Medics responding to a 911 call took her to the hospital, where she was given six units of blood but could not be saved.”

Rho’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, “said Morales’ death was a tragedy but was not a crime,” the AP reported. “Lichtman told the jurors that while they might be swayed by the graphic realities of Morales’ abortion, ‘don’t be led by your emotion; this is too important.’”

After Morales’ death Rho closed his abortion clinic and surrendered his medical license. “Even before the death, Rho, 53, 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,” according to the AP.