ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A woman’s lawsuit against a New Mexico abortion center will proceed, thanks to a New Mexico judge’s refusal to dismiss her case.
Jessica Duran filed suit last year against Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) for not telling her about its relationship with the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the possibility that it sent her dead baby there for research.
The abortion center and abortion doctor Curtis Boyd filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but New Mexico District Judge Clay Campbell ruled this month that all seven counts filed against SWO — including negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress — merit a trial by jury.
Because the consent form Duran signed before her abortion “only authorized the clinic and/or physician to perform any research, the plaintiff Jessica Duran did not have knowledge of the facts, conditions, or circumstances that would have caused her to make a reasonable inquiry into whether someone or some other entity other than the clinic and/or treating physician may perform research on any donated tissue or parts,” Campbell wrote.
Elisa Martinez, director of New Mexico Alliance for Life, said her organization is optimistic Duran will win at trial, since the facts are “clear and unambiguous.”
“This case is a monumental decision in that it shows what we and the Select Panel on Infant Lives have been pointing out all along that women are being deceived and taken advantage of by the abortion industry,” Martinez said. “The very reason the abortion industry seeks to deceive women like Jessica about the value of their baby is the very reason the bodies are harvested for parts: their humanity.”
Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives Select Panel on Infant Lives, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., disclosed the relationship between UNM and SWO and requested an investigation by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.
After the House panel procured and published a log of baby body parts collected by SWO for UNM researchers, Duran suspected her baby was among their number.
Duran said her abortion haunts her, and discovering researchers might have used her baby for experiments added to her pain. Staff never told her what could become of her baby or that she could have declined to participate in the research program. The research consent form staff gave her was the same as the one providing consent for the abortion procedure.
In her lawsuit, Duran claims SWO staff “violated my right to choose.”
“We found evidence that women were being misled by these consent forms,” Blackburn noted in a statement. “I welcome this ruling and applaud Ms. Duran for continuing her fight against these injustices on behalf of the women who have endured the same.”
The case will now go to trial, although a judge has not yet set a date for jury selection.
— by Samantha Gobba