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Doctor gets prison for botched abortion

A doctor blamed for a botched abortion that resulted in a baby being born with a severed arm has been sentenced to up to 29 years in prison.

Dr. Abu Hayat, 64, was convicted Feb. 22 of illegal abortion and three counts of assault _ in one case, he kicked a patient out of his office midway through an abortion when her husband couldn't come up with an additional $500.

State Justice Jeffrey Atlas ordered him Monday to serve 2 to seven years for assault on Rosa Rodriguez, who gave birth a day after he botched an abortion on her fetus in October 1991. Hayat was given the same sentence for assault on the child, Ana, who was born with one arm.

Hayat got five to 15 years for assault on another woman, Marie Moise, whose abortion he refused to complete when she couldn't come up with more money.

The judge said the assault sentences should be served consecutively, but that a sentence of 1 to four years for illegal abortion should run concurrently.

Hayat would have to serve nearly 10 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Atlas refused to sentence Hayat to the maximum in the Rodriguez case, saying it made no sense to impose a stiffer sentence for an act that did not kill the girl than if the abortion had been successful.

Rodriguez was eight months pregnant when she went to Hayat. State law prohibits most abortions beyond the 24th week of pregnancy.

In a plea earlier, Hayat said: "I know I am not guilty. I know I am not one of the . . . best abortionists in the world." But he added, "I compare myself (to) the best of any of the witnesses. I could teach them."

Hayat's lawyer, Ronald Veneziano, said he would appeal on the grounds that a fetus is not a person and therefore cannot be assaulted.

Hayat, whose medical license was revoked in 1991, is the first person since 1981 convicted of performing an illegal abortion in New York state.