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A Bronx Supreme Court justice has ordered a New York doctor who owns a women’s health clinic in Phoenix to appear at the Arizona manslaughter trial of the clinic’s administrator, who stands accused of allowing a patient to bleed to death after an abortion. Dr. Moshe Hachamovitch opposed the subpoena, arguing that his safety may be threatened because anti-abortion activists have placed his name on an Internet registry of doctors who perform abortion procedures. But Acting Justice Michael A. Gross ruled that Hachamovitch’s testimony was crucial in the trial of the clinic administrator, and that Arizona authorities have taken precautions to ensure his safety. In Matter of Application of State of Arizona v. Hachamovitch, prosecutors from Maricopa County, Ariz., summoned Hachamovitch to testify in the criminal trial of a doctor and the clinic administrator. The Maricopa County Superior Court found that the New York doctor, who was the owner or at least a shareholder in the Phoenix clinic, A to Z Women’s Center, was a material witness. The case arose out of the April 1998 death of Lou Anne Herron, who went to the A to Z Women’s Center for an abortion. According to prosecutors, Herron’s uterus was perforated during the procedure. She bled to death after allegedly being left unattended by medical staff after the abortion had been completed. Hachamovitch apparently would be asked about the clinic’s policies and procedures, which were set down in a contract between the clinic and Planned Parenthood. Also, Hachamovitch hired the administrator, Carol Stuart Schadoff, and he had testified in a civil deposition that she had worked for Planned Parenthood in New Jersey and was familiar with women’s issues. That testimony, according to the prosecutors, would contradict Schadoff’s claims that she had little knowledge of abortion procedures. Justice Gross ruled that the doctor’s testimony was material in the case of Schadoff, but not in the case of the doctor who performed abortion. The fact of Hachamovitch’s ownership of the clinic is not enough to establish that his testimony is material to both defendants facing manslaughter charges, the justice found. He said that Hachamovitch’s testimony is not material in the case of Dr. John Biskind, who performed the abortion, because the New York doctor has consistently said he did not impose policies and procedures on staff doctors, relying on their judgment as professionals. But Hachamovitch’s hiring and supervision of Schadoff could be material. “[T]here is a clear connection between Dr. Hachamovitch’s statements regarding Schadoff’s job responsibilities and the subject matter at the pending trial,” Gross said. There is also the possibility that Hachamovitch’s statements would refute some of Schadoff’s claims about her level of experience in supervising the work of the clinic. The New York doctor claimed that because of his heart condition, he could not withstand the stress of traveling to Phoenix for the trial. But Justice Gross pointed out that he had recently flown to California to provide a deposition in a civil lawsuit brought by the family of the woman who died, and that he had recently completed a trip to Israel to bring his mother back to the United States. “In light of these travels, it is evident that the witness is not too ill to travel out of this State,” the justice wrote. “Moreover, since he is merely a witness in these proceedings, his testimony should not cause great anxiety to him.” The Arizona authorities did tell the court that Hachamovitch was not the target of any criminal investigation. POSSIBLE TARGET More significantly, Hachamovitch told the court that he is a possible target of violence from certain anti-abortion activists. His name is listed on an Internet document called the “Nuremberg list,” which compiles names of abortion doctors. Gross pointed out, however, that Hachamovitch has not been specifically threatened by any person or group, and has not been the victim of anti-abortion violence. The judge ruled that the safety precautions pledged by Arizona officials were adequate to protect Hachamovitch, even if media attention heightens or if threats are made to the doctor’s safety. “The measures will include increased security in the courthouse and protection for Dr. Hachamovitch upon his arrival to the jurisdiction until his departure,” Gross said. “Thus, any potential hardship faced by Dr. Hachamovitch will be mitigated” by those precautions, he added. In a footnote, Gross said that any differences between Hachamovitch and Arizona officials should be resolved by the Bronx Supreme Court. The Arizona authorities’ request was handled by Bronx County Assistant District Attorney Albert Ceva. Counsel to Hachamovitch was Robert Hill Schwartz, of Newman, Schwartz & Greenberg in Manhattan.

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