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Woman Sues Clinic for Failed Abortion After Giving Birth to Healthy Girl

Apr 02, 2013 11:58 AM EDT
Activists hold signs reading "I regret my abortion" on stage as they participate in the annual March for Life rally in Washington, January 25, 2013.
(Photo : REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

The decision to undergo an abortion was not one Ariel Knights made lightly. But with her life at risk and a young son to take care of, she said she never really felt like the choice was hers to begin with.

"It was a decision made because my life was in jeopardy," she told the Akron Beach Journal, her local newspaper. "End of story. Point blank, that's it."

Knights inherited a rare condition called uterine didelphys in which her tubes never joined to create one hollow organ - the uterus. Instead, each developed as a separate structure resulting in a double uterus with separate cervices.

And while Knights' previous child had been conceived in the stronger of her two uteri, an exam early in her pregnancy showed that her daughter-to-be was developing in the weaker uterus and that, as a result, both her life and the life of the baby was at risk.

Even with her mind made up, Knights said the process was a devastating one.

"Every seat was full," Knights said regarding the abortion clinic. "People were standing. It was pretty much like a slaughterhouse; it was like, OK, next, next."

When her time came, Knights said she entered a room where she was positioned above a trash bag and sedated. 

After a period of time the doctor appeared to finish, telling her, Knights said, that everything was "good and clear."

What was actually removed from her body - if anything - is still a mystery to Knights, as just days afterward she found herself in the ER, sick and still pregnant.

The following days, weeks and months were characterized by the unknown and a constant fear of death for Knights. There would be many more trips to the ER for her, along with several extended hospital stays.

"I can't explain how I felt," she told the Akron Beach Journal. "It was just a sense of being overwhelmed, wondering what happened to the baby, wondering what's happening to me and what did [the clinic] think they did. It was constant stress."

At one point Knights tried to schedule another abortion at a different clinic, but was refused treatment given the circumstances.

Then, in what Knights calls a miracle, she successfully delivered a healthy, 6-pound and 2-inch baby girl. But while she is overjoyed at the birth, Knights remains adamant in her decision to bring the abortion clinic to court. 

Jim Gutbrod is the attorney representing Knights and, according to him, the lawsuit is a malpractice claim due to substandard care.

"From Ariel's description, you can see how poorly the clinic is run and how different it is from any other medical procedure done in our country," he told the newspaper. "The way they do things is horrendous."

Attorney D. Cheryl Atwell, who represents the medical group and doctors, denies the charges.

"I believe my client absolutely met the standard of care and that this case has no basis to be in litigation," she said. 

Whether or not she is right, however, has yet to be shown as lawyers are still exchanging medical records, according to Fox News, and have yet to try anything in court.

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