First U.S. Abortion-Breast Cancer Lawsuit Settled

For an undisclosed amount (17Oct03, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas). The plaintiff was a 17-year-old PA resident when a second-trimester abortion was performed in NJ without parental knowledge/consent. Although she hasn’t developed breast cancer, she sued her abortion provider, Charles Benjamin, for neglecting to warn her about the physical and emotional risks of abortion. Karen Malec [Coalition On Abortion/Breast Cancer president] said that the settlement would alert “the medical establishment that it can no longer profit by keeping women in the dark about the breast cancer risk. This case also establishes that abortion providers can be sued for battery if the abortion provider performs no parental consent abortions on minors from neighboring states (with parental consent statutes), even if the state where the abortion is performed does not have a parental consent statute.” On the eve of trial, Dr. Benjamin and the Cherry Hill Women’s Center in Cherry Hill, NJ, agreed to settle claims it violated parental-consent law and failed to inform its then-17-year-old patient about the emotional and physical risks of abortion – including increased risk of breast cancer. When the plaintiff, who goes by the fictitious name of “Sarah,” got pregnant at the age of 16, her high school guidance counselor facilitated her second-trimester abortion at the NJ clinic across the Delaware River without her parents’ knowledge. NJ was chosen because it has no parental-consent laws regarding abortions for minors. Sarah is said to have suffered tremendously since having her abortion. Attorney Susan Gertz, executive director of the Women’s Injury Network, the national charity which covered Sarah’s case expenses, reports she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress...