Couple Sues Planned Parenthood for the Cost of "an Additional Unplanned Child" After Failed Abortion

An Idaho couple has filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood after a medication abortion failed in 2016.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Bianca Coons and her partner Cristobal Ruiz are suing the organization for $765,000, or "the cost of raising an unplanned child," as well as damages for emotional stress, negligence, breach of contract, violation of consumer protection laws and unfair trade practices, among other claims.

The lawsuit states that in February 2016 Coons was approximately six weeks pregnant with the couple's third child when she and Ruiz decided to travel 700 miles from Boise, Idaho to Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit a Planned Parenthood clinic to obtain an abortion. The choice to travel was to avoid Idaho's mandatory waiting period which would "result in the baby being much more advanced in development."

The couple said they were "destitute" and felt they could not afford the cost of another child, and used their remaining money to make the trip and pay for the $400 abortion.

Upon arriving at the clinic in Albuquerque, Coons was given the first of two drugs to begin a medication abortion, also commonly referred to as an abortion pill. The abortion pill method is effective 94 to 98 out of 100 times in pregnancies of eight weeks or less, Planned Parenthood's website says.

Coons took the first pill, mifepristone, while at the clinic and was instructed to take the second pill, misoprostol, 24 hours later.

According to the lawsuit, the couple returned to Boise and Coons went to the emergency room the next day with severe nausea. During treatment, it was determined that her baby was fine. A doctor at the ER then contacted Planned Parenthood and was informed that Coons should take the second pill anyway.

Coons' attorney, John McCall, confirmed to the Journal that she did take the second pill but declined to comment any further on the case.

The lawsuit states that days later Coons was instructed by Planned Parenthood to take a blood test to determine if she was still pregnant. At that time, Coons asked if she could get a second medication abortion if she remained pregnant, and the staff member informed her that she could return to New Mexico for a second round of medication free of charge or pay for the same service in Idaho as Planned Parenthood clinics operate as a separate businesses.

In early March, Coons told Planned Parenthood that she couldn't afford "a second round of the abortion protocol." By that time, Coons had approached nine weeks in her pregnancy and also "could not morally sanction" a second abortion attempt, the lawsuit reads.

According to the lawsuit, the couple was "deceived into thinking that they could come to New Mexico and initiate the [medication abortion] and then return to Idaho without losing access to 'Planned Parenthood Services.'" Despite Coons reportedly telling Planned Parenthood staff she was only in New Mexico for the day, the lawsuits adds that the clinic did not inform her that she would have to pay for services in another state.

Coons gave birth in August 2016 — one month early — to a baby boy with jaundice and blood sugar problems, the Journal reported. The lawsuit states that Coons and Ruiz worry that the child, now 2 years old, might later reveal a birth defect or other injury as a result of the medication abortion.

"The defendant's failure to properly supervise and administer the abortion service directly resulted in the failure of the pregnancy termination which resulted in injury to plaintiffs' interests in family planning and their interests in financial planning for the future of their family," the lawsuit reads.

Planned Parenthood declined to speak about the lawsuit, citing pending litigation and patient confidentiality.

However, The Daily Beast reports that some experts find elements of Coons and Ruiz's case to be strange. Elizabeth Nash, a state policy expert for the Guttmacher Institute, told the digital publication that Idaho's mandatory waiting period for an abortion is 24 hours, which would not have impacted the "advanced" development of Coons' unborn child.

Nash also questioned the choice of the couple to drive to New Mexico for a procedure when there are other clinics much closer to Boise.

"Just based on geography, you could imagine that a person wouldn't go to New Mexico for a medication abortion," Nash told The Daily Beast. "You could go to Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Montana... Just looking at it on the face of it, it seems that there are other facilities that would be closer."