Abortion Doctor Gets Up to 29 Years
Jun. 14, 1993
NEW YORK (AP) _ A doctor blamed for a botched abortion that resulted in a baby being born with a severed arm was sentenced Monday to up to 29 years in prison.
Dr. Abu Hayat, 64, was convicted Feb. 22 of illegal abortion and three counts of assault - in one case, he kicked a patient out of his office midway through an abortion when her husband couldn't come up with an additional $500.
State Justice Jeffrey Atlas ordered him to serve two and two-thirds to seven years for assault on Rosa Rodriguez, who gave birth a day after he botched an abortion on her fetus in October 1991. Hayat was given the same sentence for assault on the child, Ana, who was born with one arm.
Hayat got five to 15 years for assault on another woman, Marie Moise, whose abortion he refused to complete when she could not come up with more money. The judge said the assault sentences should be served consecutively, but that a sentence of one and one-third to four years for illegal abortion should run concurrently.
Hayat would have to serve nearly 10 years before becoming eligible for parole.
Atlas refused to sentence Hayat to the maximum in the Rodriguez case, saying it made no sense to impose a stiffer sentence for an act that did not kill the girl than if the abortion had been successful.
Rodriguez was eight months pregnant when she went to Hayat. State law prohibits most abortions beyond the 24th week of pregnancy.
Hayat removed his glasses and closed his eyes as his sentence was delivered.
In a plea earlier, he said: ''I know I am not guilty. I know I am not one of the world's best abortionists in the world.'' But he added, ''I compare myself (to) the best of any of the witnesses. I could teach them.''
Hayat's lawyer, Ronald Veneziano, said he would appeal on the grounds that a fetus is not a person and therefore cannot be assaulted.
The judge said the case of Ms. Moise, a 40-year-old Haitian, was ''the most serious charge. The defendant turned her out at a point when all the pressures of humanity would have required him to treat her.''
Hayat was dubbed the ''Butcher of Avenue A'' in the tabloid media. His sentencing was postponed for a sixth time two weeks ago when he demanded a psychiatric examination to controvert a court-ordered mental exam that found him fit to proceed.
Veneziano said the reports found that Hayat is a long-term suicide risk, suffers from chronic depression, is deteriorating mentally, and is ''retreating into his own private fantasy world.''
Atlas held a competency hearing June 7 and concluded the doctor was fit to be sentenced.
Hayat, whose medical license was revoked in 1991, is the first person convicted of performing an illegal abortion in New York state since 1981.