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New Jersey doctor accused of murder in abortion case

According to a state court spokesperson, a New Jersey doctor will be extradited to Maryland from Camden County to face murder charges related to an abortion of a late-term fetus.

The 55-year-old doctor waived his right to an extradition hearing, according to a spokesman from the Camden County prosecutor's office. The man is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, as well as other charges.

His case, following his Dec. 28 arrest, could be the first heard under Maryland's fetal homicide law.

According to police reports, the doctor and a female employee were investigated in August 2010 after a botched abortion occurred in Elkton, Maryland, where they were both present. The female employee faces one count of first-degree murder.

A source reports that, following a police search of the clinic, 35 fetuses were found in a freezer.

No comment has been issued by Maryland prosecutors regarding how the murder charges are connected to the frozen fetuses or the abortion.

If someone intends to cause the death of a viable fetus according to Maryland criminal law, that person or persons can be charged with murder. A viable fetus is defined as one that could survive outside of the womb.

The New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners issued a report stating the doctor performed abortions on five patients ranging from 18 to 33 weeks pregnant. The report indicated the doctor performed these abortions in his New Jersey clinic by administering cervix-softening injections that would cause fetal demise.

The abortions were apparently completed once patients traveled to Maryland.

Source: Reuters: "New Jersey doctor to be extradited to Maryland in abortion case," Jan. 4, 2012

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