By Terry Vanderheyden

SYDNEY, November 29, 2005 ( – A doctor who has performed almost 10,000 abortions is going to trial on a charge of manslaughter.

In May, 2002, after a mother was turned away from several abortuaries who declined to commit an illegal late-term abortion, abortionist Suman Sood agreed to do the deed. She administered a drug to induce labour of the 23-week-old unborn child. The baby survived for five hours after the woman delivered him at home early the following morning.

Sood, 56, is the first doctor charged with an abortion-related offence after abortion was legalized in Australia in 1971. Tony Marsden, Liverpool Local Court magistrate, said that the likelihood of a conviction was strong enough that the case can proceed to trial.

At a preliminary trial in August, the 20-year-old mother testified that, after being turned away from several other abortuaries, she then contacted Sood who simply asked her if she was sure she wanted to proceed with the abortion. Sood administered an abortion drug, one vaginally and the other orally, to induce a miscarriage, then told the woman to return the following day.

After developing abdominal pain later that evening, she contacted Sood, who advised her to take a Panadol or Nurofen tablet. At 3:30 am that night, the woman gave birth to the boy while on the toilet. “I felt like I had to push and two things came out … I was too scared to stand up,” she testified. Paramedics delivered the woman and her baby to hospital, where doctors realized the boy, 520 grams, was still alive. He died at 8 am the next morning.

Sood, who in 2002 owned the Australian Women’s Health abortuary, is charged with administering a drug to a woman with intent to procure a miscarriage and manslaughter.
“I don’t think I have done anything wrong,” Sood claimed, as reported by The Australian. “It is a challenge to me personally and a challenge to the profession. This could happen to anybody – it is just distortion of the facts.”

The prosecutor for the Crown charged that Sood failed to elicit whether a continuation of the pregnancy would pose a health risk to the woman – a prerequisite for late-term abortions.

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