Lawyers from the Family Policy Council of West Virginia and Alliance Defending Freedom are suing abortionist Rodney Lee Stephens and his facility in West Virginia on behalf of a victim of a forced abortion that left the baby’s head in her uterus. Itai Gravely, 26, was scheduled to undergo an abortion at the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia on April 19, 2012, but revoked her consent at the beginning of the procedure because she was experiencing severe pain. She was physically restrained and the abortion was carried out. A day later, Gravely was transported to the local hospital, where it was discovered that the abortionist failed to completely remove the fetal remains – including the baby’s skull.
The complaint filed with the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia on June 7, states that Gravely’s “severe pain” at the beginning of the dilation and curettage abortion was due to inadequate anesthesia as well as Gravely’s own “history of pain medication dependency,” which the facility staff failed to ascertain. She was discharged less than 30 minutes after the procedure.
Contrary to medical standards, the complaint alleges that Stephens did not use ultrasound to guide the abortion. He only examined the fetal parts that were removed by suction “visually,” and made no attempt to reassemble them or otherwise verify that there was nothing left in the uterus. Instead, he said that they were “too small to determine” if everything was evacuated.
The next day, Gravely called the abortion facility to complain about increasing pain and heavy bleeding. She was told that she could return, but Gravely was unable to transport herself there, and no arrangements were made by the staff. She later called an ambulance that took her to the Charleston Area Medical Center. There, an ultrasound revealed that the remains of the baby were causing the pain. As well, measuring the child’s skull, staff determined that the baby was over 13 weeks old. Gravely was told by abortion facility employees that the baby was 11 weeks old and Stephens had said it was 9 weeks.
“The general public, as a matter of public safety, needs to know that Women’s Health Center of West Virginia and the abortion industry of West Virginia is unregulated,” said Jeremiah Dys, Gravely’s attorney and president of the FPCWV, according to a report in the Charleston Daily Mail. “That means the state of West Virginia is not inspecting this clinic, licensing its activities, or in any way ensuring the safety of the women who enter its doors.”
The Charleston Daily Mail reported that Stephens was listed in nine previous lawsuits. Gravely is seeking charges for medical professional negligence, battery, uninformed consent, false imprisonment, breach of contract, as well as extreme and outrageous conduct and emotional distress.
“Stephens left a human child’s head inside the womb,” the pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List stated on its blog. “This horrific, grisly detail is a reminder that regardless of how carefully an abortion is committed, it involves the painful killing of a defenseless human being in his or her earliest stages of development.”