Yesterday eleven murder charges were dismissed against my client, Dr. Steven Brigham, a physician charged with murder for performing abortions in Elkton, Cecil County, MD. After Dr. Brigham was indicted for murder for performing these abortions, my co-counsel, Nancy Forster and I have been arguing in motions filed with the court that Maryland lacked jurisdiction, that the prosecution was improperly based upon a fetal homicide statute (enacted for "Laci Peterson" situations) to prosecute our client, that the prosecution was barred due to immunity exceptions in the statute for physicians performing abortions and that such a prosecution unlawfully interferred with a woman's right to choose an abortion. At the heart of the argument was our contention that in Maryland the treating physician alone determines viability pursuant to the facts of each individual case and can not be prosecuted when a prosecutor may disagree with that decision. It was our contention that none of the fetuses involved in these charges were viable. All were between 20 and 23 weeks gestation, except for the sole procedure at 24 weeks which was necessary because the pregnancy was posing a serious threat to the life of the woman.
Yesterday, prior to a hearing scheduled for later in the month on our motion to dismiss the indictment, the prosecution dismissed all charges. This was not only a great victory for our client but also a victory for everyone that believes in a woman's right to choose and for those physicians that are willing to support those women and that cause.
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