The state medical examiner has determined that a New York woman who had an abortion at a Germantown clinic earlier this month died of natural causes.
Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, 29, was pronounced dead at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital on Feb. 7. Morbelli had sought a late-term abortion from a local clinic, Germantown Reproductive Health Services. The clinic has attracted controversy and weekly protests since hiring Dr. Leroy Carhart, a Nebraska-based physician who began performing abortions there in 2010.
The clinic declined to comment.
Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office, said there were three causes of death: “disseminated intravascular coagulation,” “amniotic fluid embolism following a medical termination of pregnancy” and “fetal abnormalities.”
“The manner of death,” Goldfarb said, “is natural causes.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, disseminated intravascular coagulation causes average blood-clotting proteins to become abnormally active, often in response to inflammation or infection. In an amniotic fluid embolism, the substance that surrounds a baby in the uterus during pregnancy enters the mother’s bloodstream.
Maryland Coalition for Life Executive Director Michael Martelli said the medical examiner’s analysis would not change the fact that his organization is calling for Carhart’s medical license to be revoked. The coalition claims that Carhart performed Morbelli’s abortion, then neglected to provide follow-up care.
“The abortion caused the amniotic embolism and the coagulation issue stems directly from that,” Martelli said. “There’s still no question about the fact that the abortion caused her death.”
According to Goldfarb, a detailed autopsy report will be completed in the coming weeks.