Murder Charges Dropped Against Abortion Docs

ELKTON, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — Maryland prosecutors have dismissed murder charges against two out-of-state doctors in the death of a fetus during a 2010 procedure, citing conflicts in expert testimony.

As first reported by The Cecil Whig, State’s Attorney Ellis Rollins dismissed charges Tuesday against Drs. Steven Brigham of New Jersey and Nicola Riley of Utah. They had been charged under a Maryland law that allows prosecutors to pursue murder charges in the death of a viable fetus.

In a release, Rollins says conflicts in expert testimony would keep the state from successfully prosecuting. He says the investigation remains open.

The law had not previously been used against abortion doctors. Attorneys for both doctors argued that they were immune from prosecution, but prosecutors indicated they believed any killing of a viable fetus is homicide.

Riley was indicted and arrested in December under Maryland’s fetal homicide law, in connection with a 2010 abortion she performed there. Riley’s attorneys filed documents claiming the 2005 state law was intended to apply to domestic violence that injures pregnant women, not to doctors performing abortions.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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