Two Doctors Charged with Murder for Late-Pregnancy Abortions, Frozen Fetuses

Physicians Performed Abortions at 36 Weeks

Two doctors have been charged with murder for performing illegal late term abortions, one of which injured an 18- year- old.

Maryland and 37 other states have a fetus law which allows murder charges to be made against anyone accused of killing a viable fetus.

A 16-month investigation led a grand jury to indict two out-of-state doctors, Dr. Steven Brigham of Voorhees, New Jersey and Dr. Nicola Riley of Salt Lake City, Utah.

After a procedure gone wrong in August 2010 at Brigham's clinic in Elkton, Maryland where an 18-year-old had her uterus ruptured and bowel injured, the investigation was launched.

Brigham, 55, and Riley, 46, drove the woman to a hospital, where authorities reported both doctors were uncooperative and Brigham refused to give his name, according to The Associated Press.

The woman was 21 weeks pregnant.

Later, a search of the clinic revealed a freezer with 35 late-term fetuses inside, including one which is believed to have been aborted at 36 weeks, reports AP. Both doctors are in jail awaiting an extradition hearing- Brigham in New Jersey and Riley in Utah.

Brigham is being charged with five counts of murder in the first degree, five counts of second-degree murder, and one count of conspiracy stemming from the botched abortion plus four other illegal abortions he performed at his clinic.

Riley faces one count of murder in the first degree, one count of murder in the second degree and one conspiracy count.

Brigham would begin abortions in New Jersey, then make patients drive themselves to his Maryland clinic to complete the abortions there because Maryland has more lenient laws. Brigham was never authorized to perform abortions in New Jersey after the first trimester.

"We believe the charges are without legal merit," said Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, an attorney for Riley.

"We believe it's inappropriate for her to be held without bond. She is not a flight risk and she should be released on her own recognizance."

A representative for Brigham has yet to comment.

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