December 29, 1996 in Nation/World

Clinic Raided After Fetus Found At Curb Vials Of Human Tissue Also Seized

New York Times
 

Responding to complaints that a human fetus had been discarded outside a Queens gynecological clinic, state health officials raided an unlicensed abortion clinic in Jackson Heights on Friday, seizing more than 200 containers of human tissue.

The clinic, Jackson Heights Women’s Care, was still operating Saturday as authorities sifted through an assortment of medical evidence recovered since Monday, when a pedestrian said he found a human fetus on the curb a few feet from the clinic.

Authorities said that on Wednesday they seized 40 vials of human tissue that were being loaded into a truck that was not licensed to carry medical waste for disposal.

They were investigating whether medical waste had been illegally disposed of, said a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney’s office, Ivy Miller. She said the clinic did not have a certificate from the State Health Department to perform abortions, but she added that investigators had found no indication that any abortion had been performed illegally or by anyone other than a licensed physician.

However, investigators were also awaiting test results from the City Medical Examiner’s office to determine whether the fetus found outside the clinic was more than 24 weeks past conception and could have been a result of an illegal third-trimester abortion.

Under New York State law, anyone who performs an abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy can be charged with homicide unless the procedure is performed to save the life of the mother.

But detectives pointed out that the clinic had been the target of several angry antiabortion demonstrations lately and said they were investigating whether the fetal parts - and a 50-foot trail of blood leading from the clinic door to the curb - might have been planted by anti-abortion protesters.

Miller declined to comment on the protests, saying only that “right now, we are approaching this as an illegal dumping case.”

The investigation began Monday when pedestrians discovered the human tissue lying on the sidewalk. “There was a trail of blood outside of the place,” said Leo Rivera, 18, who works at an insurance company next door to the clinic. “There was blood and body parts over here. It stretched from the clinic down to Roosevelt Avenue.”


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