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Boston woman sues for child-rearing costs after failed abortion

BOSTON --A Boston woman who gave birth after a failed abortion has filed a lawsuit against two doctors and Planned Parenthood seeking the costs of raising her child.

The complaint was filed by Jennifer Raper, 45, last week in Suffolk Superior Court and still must be screened by a special panel before it can proceed to trial.

Raper claimed in the three-page medical malpractice suit that she found out she was pregnant in March 2004 and decided to have an abortion for financial reasons.

Dr. Allison Bryant, a physician working for Planned Parenthood at the time, performed the procedure on April 9, 2004, but it "was not done properly, causing the plaintiff to remain pregnant," according to the complaint.

Raper then went to see Dr. Benjamin Eleonu at Boston Medical Center in July 2004, and he failed to detect the pregnancy even though she was 20 weeks pregnant at the time, the lawsuit alleges.

It was only when Raper went to the New England Medical Center emergency room for treatment of pelvic pain in late September that year that she found out she was pregnant, the suit said.

She gave birth to a daughter on Dec. 7, 2004.

She is seeking damages, including child-rearing costs.

Raper and her lawyer, Barry C. Reed Jr., refused comment when contacted by The Boston Globe.

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood said the organization does not comment on pending litigation.

Neither doctor responded to requests for comment.

Raper alleges in the suit that Planned Parenthood and Bryant were negligent for failing to end her pregnancy and that Eleonu was negligent for failing to see she was still pregnant.

The state's high court ruled in 1990 that parents can sue physicians for child-rearing expenses, but limited those claims to cases in which children require extraordinary expenses because of medical problems, medical malpractice lawyer Andrew C. Meyer Jr. said.

Raper's suit has no mentions of medical problems involving her now 2-year-old daughter.

As with all medical malpractice suits in Massachusetts, Raper's complaint will have to be screened by a tribunal consisting of a Superior Court judge, a lawyer, and a doctor to determine whether it has merit to go to trial.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/globe

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