May 25, 2024


The New Jersey Supreme Court is considering a case which could shake up America’s tortuous abortion debate. An article in Slate sketches the facts. Rose Acuna, a 29-year-old mother of two, went to her doctor, Sheldon Turkish, complaining of abdominal pain. She was between five and seven weeks pregnant. She says she asked Dr Turkish if a “baby were already there” and he responded “Don’t be stupid, it is nothing but blood.” Ms Acuna had the abortion, but soon repented. In 2004, she sued Dr Turkish for medical malpractice, arguing that abortion providers have a duty to tell their clients that the foetus or embryo is “a complete, separate, unique and irreplaceable human being” and than an abortion would kill that human being.

Acuna and her lawyer, Harold Cassidy, lost the first round, before a trial judge, but won the second round before an appeals court, which ruled that the case could go before a jury. Abortion clinics do not want this, as it would effectively force them to tell patients that the foetus is an existing human being to head off the threat of later lawsuits. So the case has now moved on to the Supreme Court. If it decides in Acuna’s favour, clinics in New Jersey, and probably elsewhere, will be forced to discuss abortion in completely different terms. The procedure will not be banned, but doctors will have to acknowledge that they are killing a human being. Stay tuned.