A RESIDENT of Meanchey district said yesterday that he had filed a complaint at Phnom Penh Municipal Court against a woman who he said caused his wife’s death by botching an abortion.
Hiv Leng, 50, said his wife, 40-year-old Khem Tha, died on July 20, one month to the day after she underwent the abortion without consulting anyone beforehand. She was three months pregnant.
“My wife did not tell me about the abortion until she already did it, because she was afraid I would be angry with her,” he said.
“My wife told me that she did not want to have this child because she is old, but I told her that it is OK, please keep it. She did not listen to me, and now I regret the loss of her life and what she did.”
He said that in the weeks after the procedure, he ushered his wife to a handful of clinics, but was told by doctors that nothing could be done to save her.
“The doctors there told me that it was too late to help her because her placenta and some parts in her stomach were rotten in her uterus,” he said.
Under the 1997 Law on Abortion, only medical doctors, midwives and other medical professionals who receive authorisation from the Health Ministry are permitted to perform abortions, and the procedures must be carried out in hospitals, health centres or public and private clinics registered with the ministry.
Untrained abortion providers who perform a procedure that results in a woman’s death can face up to 10 years in prison.
Hiv Leng said yesterday that the woman who performed Khem Tha’s abortion, a 37-year-old neighbour in Meanchey district, was both untrained and unregistered.
The court complaint requests that the woman, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, be charged and punished in accordance with the law and be ordered to pay at least US$10,000 in compensation.
Hiv Leng said yesterday that, if his bid were successful, he would give the money to a “foundation for poor people”.
Heng Rami, a clerk at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said yesterday that he had received the complaint, but that he had not yet summoned the woman.
“I already got the man’s complaint, but I did not summon the suspect yet because it was the weekend,” he said. “I will summon the suspect next week, but I am not sure which day.”