Practitioner Heads to Jail for Manslaughter, Killed Woman in Failed Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
September 14, 2010
Hyannis, MA (LifeNews.com) -- Massachusetts-based abortion practitioner Rapin Osathanondh was sentenced to six months in prison today after pleading guilty yesterday to the charge of manslaughter in relation to his killing 22-year-old Laura Smith in a failed abortion.
The plea in court from Osathanondh came on the third anniversary of Smith's death.< br>
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.
Court Judge Gary Nickerson sentenced Osathanondh to two years in prison but the plea bargain took that down to six months and the abortion practitioner will be eligible for parole after three months. He must then serve nine months of home confinement with electronic monitoring.
Osathanondh, who had faced a maximum of 20 years in prison, also received three years probation. The abortion "doctor" will not be able to practice or teach medicine, under the terms of the agreement.
With Smith's adoptive parents watching the proceedings, Osathanondh pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter following an agreement between Cape and Islands First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny and the abortion practitioner's attorneys.
The plea followed several hours of negotiating back and forth between Glenny, who reportedly spoke with Smith's parents during the exchanges. Defense attorneys Paul Cirel and Serina Barkley of Boston worked with Osathanondh, the Cape Cod Times indicated.
During the hearing, Osathanondh admitted his guilt to involuntary manslaughter, which Massachusetts law defines as a "wanton or reckless act," or "failure to act" in such a way that it creates "a grave risk to others."
He reportedly hung his head as he heard Smith's father Tom Smith talk about his daughter: “Laura was a delightful girl … she had a unique smile and a personality that lit up a room,”
Eileen Smith also released a statement to the pro-life group Operation Rescue, which has been providing her assistance in following up on her daughter's death.
"Today is the third anniversary of Laura's death, how appropriate it should all end on this day," she said. “Today man's justice is being issued … the court is showing mercy."
OR president Troy Newman told LifeNews.com this afternoon, "Today, justice was done."
He continued, "Our condolences and prayers continue to be with the Smith family, who showed such an amazing strength of faith and courage throughout this ordeal."
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 any other staff members on site who had appropriate medical training to monitor Smith's during the abortion.
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.
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.
It said the abortion practitioner did not have any means of monitoring Smith's vital signs properly, did not have oxygen or a functioning blood pressure cuff, and said he "failed to adhere to basic cardiac life support protocol" and did not call 911 in a timely fashion. He was also accused of misleading his own staff by telling them he had given Smith oxygen during the abortion when he had not.
"This conviction is an object lesson to prosecutors across the nation that abortionists can and should be held criminally accountable to the law for the sake of justice and public safety," OR's Newman said.
"There are abortionists out there right now who are endangering the lives of women who should be joining Osathanondh in jail. We hope today's sentencing will encourage prosecutors to file criminal charges against abortionists who are breaking the law. Leaving these kinds of cases to the medical boards and civil courts is simply not good enough," Newman added.
Osathanondh's lawyer, Paul Cirel, told ABC News this weekend that, while Smith's death is a tragedy, the abortion practitioner treated her properly.
"It's an unfortunate fact of medicine that rarely -- but sometimes -- patients die, even when they are being given the best of care," Cirel said.
After the sentencing, he said Osathanondh has “the most profound remorse and regret for Laura's death for which he has taken and accepts responsibility.”
David Angueira, who represents Smith's parents in the civil lawsuit, said both cases are the family's "quest for justice" for Smith.
"They firmly believe that this man is responsible for the death of their beautiful daughter and that he should be punished in accordance with the law for what he did," Angueira told ABC News. "They want to make sure that the medical community gets a very clear message that when you engage in medical procedures, they must be done properly and safely for the benefit of patient safety."
Osathanondh surrendered his medical license and closed his two abortion offices.