US

NJ abortion doctor charged with murdering five ‘viable’ fetuses in Md.

David Martosko Executive Editor

An abortion provider from southern New Jersey was arraigned Friday on five counts of murder, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Prosecutors in Cecil County, Md. allege that Dr. Steven Brigham delivered lethal injections to five late-term fetuses at his clinic in Voorhees, N.J. and then extracted them in another clinic in Elkton, Md.

Authorities allege that Brigham, who runs a chain of abortion centers in five states, approached late-term abortions this way because New Jersey has stricter laws about who may provide outpatient surgeries.

Brigham posted $500,000 bond and was released after his arraignment.

The case will hinge on how Maryland’s courts interpret a 2005 fetal-homicide law, which was originally passed as a legal basis to charge a suspect with two murders if he or she kills a woman carrying a late-term pregnancy.

The law requires a court to find that the fetus in question was “viable” outside the womb, but leaves that determination up to a judge.

Most medical experts recognize that a human fetus can survive on its own after 24 weeks. A typical pregnancy lasts 38 weeks.

Medical records released by investigators show that the five abortions in question  were performed in 2010, on women whose pregnancies ranged in length from 23 weeks to 31.4 weeks.

Another suspect in the case, a physician who allegedly assisted Brigham, remains in custody in Utah. She is being held without bail.

David Martosko is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter.