A young Michigan woman who changed her mind about having an abortion while on the doctor's table has accused her doctor of terminating her pregnancy even after she pleaded with him to stop.
A lawsuit filed by 20-year-old Caitlin Bruce against Dr. Abraham Hodari is now winding its way through the Genesee County court system, but the case has raised questions about when an abortion can be stopped.
Bruce said she walked into Hodari's Feminine Health Care Clinic in Flint, Mich., in April 2008, intending to have an abortion. She claims in an interview with ABCNews.com she changed her mind, but was pinned down, her mouth covered to muffle her screams, while Hodari forcibly terminated her pregnancy.
"This is a question about choice. Who makes the decision here? He told her she could back out any time," Bruce's attorney Tom Pabst said. "Who does he think he is?"
Hodari's lawyer called the lawsuit "baseless" and said Bruce changed her mind too late and that the doctor had no choice but to finish what he started.
"He did nothing improper," Hodari's attorney Steve Weiss said.
In 2008, Bruce was 18, pregnant by her much-older boyfriend, and unemployed. She had dropped out of high school in 11th grade and was just starting to build a life for herself. Her father, she said, had convinced her that the best thing for her would be to terminate the pregnancy.
"He just thought I was too young and I hadn't finished school," Bruce said. "And how was I going to support the baby?"
Bruce said she'd had doubts about the abortion from the beginning, describing her emotions after finding out about the pregnancy as excited and nervous at the same time.
"I was really confused, asking everybody else what I should do. Everybody told me, 'You were too young,'" she said. "What I really wanted to hear was, 'We'll help you out.'"
In the end, she walked into the clinic. When a technician performed a sonogram and handed Bruce the picture of her 6-week-old fetus -- even though she had specifically filled out paper work saying she didn't want to see the ultrasound or any pictures -- she began to seriously question her decision.
"I sat in the room for like five minutes and cried," she said.
What happened next is in dispute.
Bruce said she was put into an examination room and told Hodari she was nervous.
"He was just teling me you'll be okay," she said. "It'll be fine. It's a quick procedure. It'll just feel like a cramp in your stomach."
Bruce said she begged Hodari to stop as soon as she felt him insert the speculum to start the procedure and despite her objections, brutally forced the abortion on her while his assistants pinned her to the table.
"He had a real tight grip over my mouth, but I was screaming .. and trying to pull my legs together," she said.
Bruce said Hodari, who she described as "very irate," seemed to give up at one point, telling her she could go home. As she began to relax, she said, he suddenly and painfully finished terminating the pregnancy.
"And that's when I felt the worst pain in my stomach," she said. "It really felt like he was ripping everything in me out, that's how painful it was."
Bruce said Hodari never spoke another word to her afterward and that she simply laid in the room by herself, terrified.