NEW YORK — A New York abortionist has accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the death of a 30-year-old woman who lost her life two years ago following an abortion.
Robert Rho, 55, of the now-closed Liberty Women’s Health Care of Queens entered the plea on Friday while the jury was deliberating the initial charge of second-degree manslaughter. Under the deal, he admitted to accidentally cutting the woman’s uterine wall and aorta, and tearing her cervix.
According to reports, Jamie Lee Morales sought an abortion at Rho’s facility in July 2016, arriving for the procedure with her sister. She was in her second trimester.
But during the surgical abortion, Rho accidentally perforated Morales’ uterus and cut an artery. She began bleeding profusely in the recovery room, warranting a second operation.
Instead of calling for an ambulance, Morales was discharged although she had fainted and appeared woozy. She fell unconscious while being transported home by her sister, who then called 911.
The woman later died at the hospital despite receiving a transfusion of six units of blood.
Rho was arrested three months later. He also closed his facility and surrendered his medical license.
He faced up to 15 years if convicted under the manslaughter charge. With the plea deal, Rho is expected to be sentenced to no more than four years behind bars, and his defense attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said that the punishment may be as minimal as a number of months. Sentencing is scheduled for June 26.
Pro-life groups say that they are “satisfied” that Rho pleaded guilty to negligent homicide since it means that justice will be served.
“Robert Rho killed Jaime Morales and has now grudgingly admitted his crime. He will pay for that crime in prison, so we are satisfied with the outcome even though we had hoped for a conviction on the more serious charge,” Troy Newman of Operation Rescue said in a statement.
“I pray that during his incarceration he might reflect on the harm he has caused and come to repentance through Jesus Christ,” he said.
Deanna Wallace, legal communications director for Americans United for Life, said that the conditions that were described during Rho’s trial are not uncommon to abortion facilities.
“The truth is that the type of behavior that’s been described in this trial—not following best medical practices, using untrained staff, failing to properly monitor vital signs, not maintaining a sterile environment, etc.—all of this is very common in abortion clinics,” she remarked.
As previously reported, in 2012, a 24-year-old woman lost her life following an abortion procedure at Planned Parenthood in Chicago.
Reports state that Tonya Reaves was obtaining a second trimester abortion when she began to bleed heavily. She was undergoing a dilation and evacuation procedure, where the woman’s cervix is dilated and then the baby is dismembered piece by piece and reassembled on a tray to make sure that all of the body parts have been removed.
Autopsy reports indicated that Reaves died largely because of hemorrhaging, although officials ruled her death an “accident.”
In 2013, 29-year-old Jennifer McKenna Morbelli died after obtaining an abortion at Leroy Carhart’s Germantown Reproductive Health Center in Maryland. Morbelli was 33 weeks pregnant with a baby girl that had been named Madison Leigh.
The day after the procedure, Morbelli began complaining of chest pains and other discomfort. Family members attempted to contact Carhart, but were unsuccessful in reaching him. They drove Morbelli to the hospital, where it was found that she was suffering from massive internal bleeding.
While at the hospital, Morbelli went code blue six times, and was pronounced dead.