State medical board exonerates Albuquerque abortion doctor

Posted at: 02/07/2013 5:00 PM
Updated at: 02/08/2013 8:58 AM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The New Mexico Medical Board exonerated Thursday an Albuquerque doctor accused of botching a late-term abortion.

Operation Rescue - an anti-abortion group - brought forth the complaint against Dr. Shelley Sella.

According to a Medical Board report, a 26-year-old New York woman learned her fetus had severe brain abnormalities during her third trimester. She traveled to Dr. Sella’s Albuquerque clinic to abort her pregnancy, but during the procedure, her uterus ruptured, forcing the clinic to call 911 to take the patient to University of New Mexico Hospital.

The patient survived, but soon after the Medical Board began investigating Dr. Sella.  A prosecutor for the board claimed third-term abortions should only be done in a hospital.  And since the woman had a previous cesarean operation, the prosecutor argued late-term abortion was too much of a high risk.

The Medical Board dismissed the case siding with an independent hearing officer that Dr. Sella did nothing wrong. A report states Dr. Sella was medically justified in performing the procedure and that her clinic is a suitable facility for a third trimester abortion.

"We care about the safety of these women,” said Tara Shaver, a pro-life activist from the organization Project Defending Life. “We've seen so many documented abortion injuries stemming from the late term clinic in particular.”

An attorney for Dr. Sella's told the Associated Press that ruling made it a great day for women all across New Mexico.

The American Civil Liberties Union weighed in stating this case was nothing more than harassment of doctors who perform abortions.