Lawsuit claims UnityPoint Health officials pressured woman into abortion

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PEORIA, Ill. – A lawsuit has been filed against UnityPoint Health alleging hospital officials paid a woman to have an abortion after a medical error.

The lawsuit, filed in Peoria County court on behalf of Reneizha Morris, says on November 1, 2017 Morris was transported to UnityPoint Health Methodist and was given a psychiatric evaluation. She was then also informed she was pregnant.

The suit claims Morris was admitted to hospital and did not consent to treatment for her pregnancy. Employees told her they would obtain a court order if she did not submit to treatment. An employee them allegedly gave her the drug methotrexate. The suit claims it causes birth defects, methotrexate is actually a drug used to treat cancer and arthritis patients.

“I hoped that maybe [the baby] could be normal,” said Morris. “That something good could come out of it. But over time they were adamantly telling me that there was no way that this would be a normal child.”

The lawsuit says a short time later, agents at UnityPoint realized the error made and informed Morris if the baby were carried to term it would have severe birth defects. Employees advised her over several weeks to terminate the pregnancy, but Morris did not want to have an abortion.

“She told doctors during this meeting that she was willing to take the risk,” said Attorney Thomas Mulroy. “That she wanted to give this baby a chance and that she hoped that it was a girl.”

The suit says UnityPoint officials then sent her $2,000 to try to convince her to have the abortion. Morris went through with the procedure on December 15, 2017.

The five-count lawsuit is asking for in excess of $50,000 for each count. It claims negligence, a lack of informed consent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Morris and the law firm representing her on this case, Salvi, Schostok and Pritchard, are holding a news conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the lawsuit further.

WMBD reached out to Unity Point Methodist officials for a comment on this lawsuit. We still haven’t heard back from the hospital’s officials at this time. 

Morris’ lawsuit is attached at the top of this story for your review.

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