Abortion Practitioner Who Killed Woman in Botched Legal Abortion Faces Hearing

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Practitioner Who Killed Woman in Botched Legal Abortion Faces Hearing

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 24
, 2009

Hyannis, MA (LifeNews.com) — Abortion practitioner Rapin Osathanondh, who has been charged with manslaughter after killing one of his patients in a botched legal abortion, faces a Friday hearing. Osathanondh did the abortion on 22-year-old Laura Smith, who died in September 2007 at his Women’s Health Center abortion business.

The September trial in Barnstable Superior Court is expected to last two weeks.

Osathanondh was indicted in July 2008 by a grand jury after an investigation by local police, state police and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.

Laura, who was adopted at the age of four from Honduras by her parents, was 13 weeks into the pregnancy when she had the abortion. Osathanondh reportedly sedated her and did not have another other staff members on site who had appropriate medical training to monitor Smith’s vital signs during the abortion.

In comments to OneNewsNow today, Operation Rescue staffer Cheryl Sullinger, who has been closely following the case, talked about the coming hearing.

"He was the only licensed person in his clinic. The only other one there was an unlicensed receptionist, so when life-threatening complications occurred from the anesthesia he was unprepared and unable to help her, and so she died right there on the abortion table," she said.

Although Sullinger is disappointed it has taken so long to get to this point, there is one bit of good news in the aftermath.

"The good news is that his two abortion clinics are closed and he was forced to surrender his medical license," Sullinger told the news service.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine revoked Osathanondh’s license after investigating the abortion death and Osathanondh gave up his medical license permanently following the decision.

Smith died shortly after the abortion, on September 13, 2007.

Officials say Laura died from "cardiac pulmonary arrest during anesthesia during a voluntary termination of pregnancy" — known as an abortion.

Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe released information about the charges last year and called Smith’s death a “terrible tragedy.”

“I’ve been in constant communication with Laura’s mother and other family members and I know how this has affected them and it’s a terrible thing," he said.

He said that Osathanondh’s medical negligence and deficient actions led to her death.

"The evidence made out a case of willful, wanton and reckless conduct with respect to how this medical procedure was carried out,” O’Keefe said at the time.

Laura’s mother, Eileen Smith, has pursued legal action against Osathanondh in a civil lawsuit.

"Our family wants justice," Eileen Smith wrote in an affidavit accompanying the lawsuit. "They want to see the man who took her life pay for what he has done to Laura and our family."

"Today I am picking out her tombstone when I should be picking out my mother of the bride dress," Eileen Smith added. "Rapin Osathanondh has caused great harm and there is no end in sight."

Operation Rescue previously said Eileen had been dealing with some local officials who won’t acknowledge that the abortion caused her daughter’s death.

Smith said a Sheriff’s Deputy in another county provided Osathanondh and his abortion center staff with CPR training, then backdated the session to a date prior to Laura’s death. The official apparently did so with the full knowledge that someone had recently died at the abortion center.

Osathanondh and his staff had been uncertified in CPR until that time, Smith said.

"I’m appalled that an officer of the law would be involved in that," Eileen Smith said. "Thank God this has been exposed."

The pro-life group indicated Smith has filed a complaint in Bristol County against the deputy.

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