The mother of a young woman who was killed in a failed abortion has been named the person of the year by the pro-life organization Operation Rescue.
Eileen Smith is an unlikely national pro-life advocate, but she became well known in the pro-life movement after Massachusetts-based abortion practitioner Rapin Osathanondh was charged with manslaughter in relation to his killing 22-year-old Laura Smith, Eileen’s adoptive daughter.
Smith died in September 2007 at his Women’s Health Center abortion business after Osathanondh failed to provide proper medical care after the abortion went awry.
Eileen Smith launched a crusade, with the help of Operation Rescue and other pro-life groups, to hold Osathanondh accountable and ensure other women were not subjected to harmful abortions. As a result of her actions, Osathanondh was forced to permanently surrender his medical license and vow never to reapply in any state for the rest of his life. His two offices, where he conducted his abortion business, were permanently closed.
In September, exactly three years after Osathanondh took Laura’s life, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and jailed. That same day, Osathanondh settled a civil suit brought by Eileen Smith for $2 million.
“I pray that I am an example to other mothers and that I will not stand alone in my crusade. Please join my voice,” she said.
Operation Rescue president Troy Newman told LifeNews.com about the decision to name Smith its person of the year.
“Every step of the way, Eileen was under pressure to drop her efforts to bring Osathanondh to justice and simply walk away. It took an amazing amount of faith for her to persevere and demand that the authorities do their jobs. Her determination amid overwhelming grief is an inspiration to us all,” he said. “We are proud to award her with the 2010 Pro-life Person of the Year Malachi Award.”
Each year Operation Rescue presents the Malachi Award to pro-life activists who are impacting the nation for the cause of life. The award is named after an aborted baby that was discovered in an abortion clinic dumpster, whose image has been used nationally to bring attention to the desperate plight of the pre-born.
Last year, the pro-life group gave the award to Jim Pouillon, who was gunned down during a peaceful protest in 2009.
Previous winners include Lila Rose of Live Action Films for her documentation of Planned Parenthood abuses; Dr. Johnny Hunter of LEARN, who is exposing the devastating effects of abortion on the African-American community; Leslee Unruh, who spearheaded efforts to ban abortion in South Dakota; and Phill Kline, the former Kansas prosecutor whose abortion investigations led to 107 criminal charges against Planned Parenthood.