Authorities in Australia are promising an investigation after a 42-year-old woman died Sunday, just four days after receiving a late-term abortion at a private clinic.
This is the fourth time the Maroondah Surgery of Marie Stopes International Australia clinic in Croydon, previously known as the Croydon Day Surgery, has been investigated in six years, The Age reports.
Dr. James Latham Peters, an anesthesiologist at the clinic, was charged in May for infecting 50 women with Hepatitis C from the years 2008 to 2009. Medical records are said to prove the doctor knew he was Hepatitis C positive, and he allegedly used needles on himself before using them on patients.
Dr. Mark Schulberg, owner of Croydon Day Surgery, was found guilty in 2009 for unprofessional conduct after he performed an abortion on an intellectually disabled female without receiving legal permission from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The young woman was a victim of rape by her father, who allegedly helped push for the daughter's abortion.
Schulberg came under scrutiny again in Aug. 2011 after her performed a late-term abortion on the 23-month-old fetus of Cambodian immigrant Pheap Sem. Sem, 40, spent three weeks in intensive care at the Box Hill Hospital following the abortion due to organ failure.
“I thought they would take care of me but they didn't,” Sem told the Sunday Age in October.
According to The Age, the Croydon Clinic is suspected to be the only abortion facility in the state which performs late-term abortions due to “psychosocial reasons.”
According to the country’s state law, abortions in Victoria are only lawful if they are “proportionate” and done out of “necessity.” Proportionate means the circumstances of the abortion are not out of proportion with the dangers of the pregnancy, and necessity refers to the necessity to preserve the pregnant woman’s life.
“Usually [it's] because there’s a diagnosis of a severe abnormality in the child often incompatible with life or incompatible with quality of life that is acceptable to the parents,” Dr. Caroline de Costa, a James Cook University Professor in obstetrics and gynecology, told ABC's Lateline regarding late-term abortions.
“Sometimes because the mother has developed a medical condition during pregnancy which is being exacerbated by the pregnancy continuing. So it’s usually done for a major medical indication,” she added.
Australia’s Health Department visited the abortion clinic after the reported death, but found no signs of protocol transgression. The watchdog agency Medical Board of Australia has been notified of the woman’s death and the case awaits further investigation.