Hospital Pressured Illinois Woman to Have Abortion: Lawsuit

April 12, 2019 Updated: April 12, 2019

A woman from Peoria, Illinois, filed a lawsuit on April 11 against a hospital in the state after they allegedly paid her $2,000 to have an abortion. The payment came after she was mistakenly given a drug that could cause birth defects.

According to a copy of the suit on The (Peoria) Journal Star, Reneizha Morris claimed she didn’t want to have an abortion at the UnityPoint Health-Methodist hospital located more than 100 miles away from Peoria. She said she felt pressured by the hospital’s risk management team to go through with the operation.

The 17-page suit, filed in Peoria County Circuit Court, seeks more than $50,000 in damages with UnityPoint as the sole defendant, with several others who are named as respondents in discovery.

Morris’s attorney, Thomas Mulroy III, said during a mid-afternoon press conference on April 11 that the hospital made the payment to “eliminate evidence of their mistake.”

A spokesperson for UnityPoint told The Epoch Times via email on April 12 that “Patient privacy laws prevent us from discussing any individual’s care. At UnityPoint Health, we respect all patient rights in every aspect of the care we provide.”

Morris says she was given Methotrexate after she was admitted for a psychiatric evaluation when she was early in her pregnancy. The lawsuit alleges the hospital’s legal team got involved when she decided to carry the child to term.

The Methotrexate drug was injected into Morris due to an “apparent miscommunication within the hospital,” the outlet reported.

“They knew they did something wrong and there is no way to reverse it at all,” Morris said, according to WGN9.

Methotrexate is a drug that is associated with an increased risk of having multiple birth defects, according to a report on maternal exposure to methotrexate and birth defects. The drug is a successful and widely used medication for cancer chemotherapy and a variety of other conditions.

Mulroy said at the conference he believed the staff at the hospital made the payment after analyzing data based on previous lawsuit payoffs.

“The monetary awards are typically greater when the embryo exposed to methotrexate lives and requires continuous medical care, as compared to when the fetus dies in utero or shortly after birth,” Mulroy said. “We believe at some point in the administration knew that if this baby survived, the cost of the hospital would’ve been astronomical.”

Attorneys for Mulroy said she felt she had no other choice except to terminate the pregnancy due to increased pressure given to her in a series of meetings. Her baby was ultimately aborted on Dec. 15, 2017.

“The mistake in this case was absolutely inexcusable,” said Mulroy during the press conference. “There is one important rule that everyone in health care follows. The rule is this, no matter what you do, don’t make things worse. First, do no harm. The hospital flunked this test in the most appalling way.”

Morris, who is already a mother of two boys, said she was looking forward to having a girl.

“When I told that there was a mistake and my baby night not make it, I was devastated,” she said. “I think about what happened every single day, and I just don’t understand how this happened.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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