News Articles

Abortion doctor sent to prison

WASHINGTON (BP)–A Massachusetts abortion doctor has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 22-year-old woman three years ago.

Rapin Osathanondh, 67, was sentenced to 30 months in prison by a Barnstable, Mass., court in the death of Laura Smith, but he will serve only six months because the rest of the sentence was suspended, The Boston Globe reported. He also received three years of probation, which begins immediately, and nine months of home confinement after his prison term.

In a civil trial held separately, Osathanondh was ordered to pay $2 million to Smith’s family.

The former abortion doctor’s guilty plea Sept. 14 came after an agreement between prosecutors and his lawyers, according to The Globe.

Smith died Sept. 13, 2007, during an abortion performed by Osathanondh at his Hyannis clinic. She was 13 weeks pregnant. Smith’s death became noteworthy not only because it occurred while she was in the care of a doctor at an abortion clinic but because she was a member of a pro-life, evangelical Christian family.

Eileen Smith did not know her engaged daughter was pregnant when her husband Tom and she received news of the botched abortion. Smith described Laura, who was born in Honduras and adopted after alleged abuse by an American couple who had previously adopted her, as pro-life and as reared in a Christian home with their other three children. Laura had made a profession of faith in Christ and been baptized at the age of 12, her mother said.

After Laura’s death, Eileen become outspoken in her advocacy for the pro-life cause.

Osathanondh resigned his medical license in 2008 after he apparently learned the state’s Board of Registration in Medicine had voted to suspend him. The resignation is permanent. He had been licensed in Massachusetts since 1974 and had been a visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health since 2002, The Globe reported.

The medical board said Osathanondh had no way to monitor Laura Smith’s vital signs when he sedated her, had no one assisting him who was trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and delayed calling 911, according to The Globe.
Compiled by Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.

    About the Author

  • Staff