an After abortion

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Abortion doctor faces 67 counts of sexual assault, abuse as trial starts today, from the Arizona Republic.

"Three years ago, national shock jock Howard Stern called the straight-talking, gun-loving Dr. Brian Finkel a national hero because he wasn't intimidated by unending protests and threats outside his Phoenix abortion clinic.

Not only did he patrol his now-closed clinic in a bulletproof vest and holstered gun, he taunted anti-abortion activists, calling them 'religious racketeers,' and 'mean-spirited, hate-filled Christians engaged in guerrilla warfare.'

But now his medical license is on hold and he is waging a different fight, this one for his freedom. He goes to trial today, charged with 67 counts of sexual assault or abuse of 35 patients since 1986. At least one victim was going under anesthesia when she said Finkel fondled her, prosecutors say.

Finkel has repeatedly denied the charges.

Finkel, 53, a former Air Force flight surgeon who served in the first Gulf War, relished being on the front lines of the abortion battle, terminating more than 20,000 pregnancies in 20 years and proud of it.

Of the 67 counts he is now facing, seven are for sexual assault, which each carries a term of five to 14 years in prison, making this the highest-stakes battle for the combative doctor."

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