Published April 02, 2013
An Ohio woman is suing an abortion clinic after she says she made the painful decision to terminate her pregnancy because her life was in danger, only to discover she was still pregnant after the procedure.
The northeast Ohio clinic in a court filing denied Ariel Knights' allegations that doctors were negligent and failed to successfully perform the abortion she sought, eventually leading to the birth of her healthy baby daughter.
The Akron Women’s Medical Group and two doctors acknowledge Knights, of Cuyahoga Falls, sought an abortion March 3, 2012. However, they deny any negligence and seek to have the case dismissed, citing a long list of possible defenses.
“I believe my client absolutely met the standard of care and that this case has no basis to be in litigation,”attorney D. Cheryl Atwell, who represents the medical group and the doctors, said Monday.
Lawyers still are exchanging medical records, and Atwell said she couldn’t comment further.
The malpractice lawsuit was filed March 4 on behalf of 22-year-old Knights. Her attorney, James Gutbrod, said Monday the medical group’s legal response was general and he had no comment on it.
Knights has said she sought the abortion because she has a medical condition called uterine didelphys, resulting in a double uterus with individual cervices, and a doctor had told her that her pregnancy and her life could be threatened because the fetus was carried in an unstable uterus.
Knights tells the Akron Beacon Journal she agonized over the decision to terminate the pregnancy, but felt she had no choice because of her preschool-aged son.
“It was a decision I made because my life was in danger,” she told the paper in an interview March 15. “I was put in jeopardy. And I have a son that I am supposed to be taking care of.”
She learned about a week after the abortion procedure that she still was pregnant, according to the lawsuit alleging the defendants “were negligent and deviated from the appropriate standard of care.”
The lawsuit also indicates Knights was referred to a second abortion clinic after she found out she still was pregnant, but that clinic was unwilling to become involved in “somebody else’s mistake,” and she refused to return to the original clinic for a second abortion attempt.
Knights made a second appointment with the medical group but did not show up for it, according to the defendants’ filing. It doesn’t specify the date of the second appointment.
Knights says she spent the rest of her pregnancy in a state of constant fear.
“I can’t explain how I felt," she told the Akron Beacon 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."
Knights says she considers her daughter her "miracle" baby, saying she does not like to think about what would have happened had the abortion been successful.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.