By KAREN STAPLETON New York — A doctor who performs abortions after rape is still required to get the consent of the woman and to record the procedure, a state Supreme Court judge ruled Tuesday.
In a 5-4 decision, the court overturned a lower court ruling that allowed a physician who performed the abortion to keep the records.
The decision was a blow to abortion rights advocates who had argued that doctors should have to get consent from the victim, or the woman, before performing the abortion.
It also made it much more difficult for some doctors to perform such abortions after their medical license was suspended for more than a year.
The case stems from a 2015 rape case in which the doctor, William J. Brown, performed an abortion after he saw the victim bleeding profusely on the hospital floor.
Brown is also accused of having another abortion in a hotel room.
Brown’s attorney, David Tovar, said Tuesday that his client was innocent of rape.
The judge also upheld a New York State Medical Board decision that required doctors to get an affidavit from the woman or the victim before performing abortions.
He said the board had the authority to impose the conditions under which a doctor could perform abortions.
The doctor who performed Brown’s abortion had to get permission from the hospital to perform the abortion, and he had to record that abortion.
He could not do so if the woman had not consented, the judge said.
The medical board, which had issued a suspension order that barred Brown from performing abortions after he had performed a rape abortion, had allowed the doctor to continue performing abortions while his license was being suspended.
The ruling said the medical board did not have the authority under the New York Constitution to restrict a doctor’s ability to perform abortion after rape because he was already licensed and was able to obtain another license after the rape case.
The New York Board of Medicine has also prohibited doctors from performing abortion after a woman has been raped, the decision said.
It’s not clear whether the court would have allowed Brown to continue to perform his abortion after the board ordered him to get a woman’s consent.