Police searching for abortionist after teenager dies of Botched abortion

Guyana, which has the highest maternal mortality rate in South America, liberalized its abortion laws in 1995, allowing abortion on demand without partner or parental consent.
Wed Jan 4, 2012 - 5:41 pm EST

VIGILANCE, GUYANA, January 4, 2012 ( – Police are attempting to locate an abortionist after an 18-year-old died last Friday from the effects of a botched abortion.

Karen Devi Bahdal lived the town of Vigilance in East Coast Demerara, in the South American nation of Guyana. She was four months pregnant when she sought an abortion at a private clinic on December 23. On Christmas Eve, she went to Guyana’s Georgetown Public Hospital complaining of a fever and vomiting, but her injuries were not immediately detected.

A second ultrasound discovered the botched abortion had perforated her uterus and bowels. She developed peritonitis and was rushed into surgery on December 26. The teen’s aunt, Hardai Ramroop, said she never regained consciousness, reports


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Bahdal died on December 30. She leaves behind her husband and two children: a two-year-old and a four-month-old.

Officers from the Beterverwagting Police Station have reportedly attempted to question the abortionist, but he appears to have closed the clinic, removed its sign, and left town. Authorities have been unable to locate him.

Local media reported that before fleeing the abortionist, who held a position at a private hospital as well as running his clinic, “nervously denied performing the termination, and denied having a clinic in the East Coast Demerara village where the procedure was done.”

Bahdal’s husband, Vishal Surujpaul, said he did not want his wife to have the abortion. Guyana liberalized its abortion laws in 1995, allowing abortion on demand without partner or parental consent.

“‘Pro-choice’ groups all over the world tell us that, if abortion is to be safe, it must be legal,” wrote Dr. Brian Clowes, director of research at Human Life International, in a statement e-mailed to “This principle didn’t hold true in the United States, and it isn’t true in any other country, either. In the USA, hundreds of women have been killed by so-called ‘safe’ and legal abortion.”

A 2009 World Health Organization report ranked Guyana’s maternal mortality rate the highest in South America, more than 10 times higher than Chile, which has protected the unborn in all cases since 1989.

Dr. Clowes is not surprised that legalized abortion has not made the nation’s mothers safer. “The same people who did abortions before it was legalized do them after it is legalized, as well,” he wrote. “Physicians who are willing to break the law in order to make a lot of money certainly do not have the best interests of women at heart.”

  abortion, guyana

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