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Indian doctor convicted in Australia

Suman Sood faces a maximum 10-year jail term after being found guilty for illegally administering a drug for abortion.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 13:49 IST

An Indian doctor has become the first person in New South Wales of Australia in more than 25 years to be convicted for illegally carrying out an abortion.

Fifty-two-year old Suman Sood, who did her medical training from India, faces a maximum 10-year jail term after being found guilty by the NSW Supreme Court for illegally administering drug intent to carry out a miscarriage.

However, she was acquitted of charges of manslaughter, a local radio said Wednesday.

The prosecution charged that Sood, in May 2002, has unlawfully administered a drug 'prostaglandin' to a 20-year-old woman in preparation for an abortion procedure.

Early next morning, the woman delivered at home a "four-month-old premature boy", who was pronounced dead several hours later, the court has been told.

Sood denied giving the woman the drug or agreeing to terminate her pregnancy.

It was alleged Sood acted unlawfully because she failed to assess the woman's circumstances or ask why she wanted the abortion, and therefore could not have judged whether continuing the pregnancy would endanger the patient's life or well-being.

After deliberating for about three days, the jury convicted Sood of unlawfully administering the drug to the woman with intent to carry out the abortion.

It also convicted her of unlawfully causing the woman to take a drug with the intent to procure her miscarriage.

Under NSW law abortions are illegal unless a doctor forms the honest, genuine and reasonable belief the abortion is necessary to protect the woman from serious danger to her life or her physical or mental health.