Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Are abortionists a protected species?

By Melinda Tankard Reist - posted Friday, 15 September 2006

For years, women complained about their ill treatment at the hands of Sydney abortionist Suman Sood. The allegations included botched and incomplete abortions, failure to warn of abortion risks or to provide counselling or trained staff. The growing number of Sood’s victims described an uncaring doctor who ran a substandard practice with crowded waiting rooms, dirty beds and little or no follow up care. One patient described being repeatedly slapped after the termination.

There were also allegations the former owner of the Australian Women’s Heath Clinic in western Sydney tried to get extra money out of women and defrauded Medicare. But the Health Care Complaints Commission continued to sit on its hands, and Sood continued to perform abortions.

That was until Sood was prosecuted for administering abortion drugs to 20-year-old woman who was about 23 weeks pregnant. She went to her mother’s house, experienced labour pains and delivered a gasping baby boy into a toilet.


Sood was charged with manslaughter and performing an unlawful abortion. She was convicted of the latter. But a doctor who should never have been allowed near a pregnant woman again, was able to continue practicing. Last week, ahead of Medical Board hearings, she handed in her registration.

You would think those who claim to care about women would have demanded Sood be stripped of her licence earlier. You would think they might have seen fit to warn women against consulting such a dangerous person.

After all, the Australian Greens have information on their website which warns women off calling or visiting any of 60-plus pregnancy support agencies they label (pdf 44KB) as “deceptive” and likely to cause them harm.

And Democrat Senator Natasha Stott Despoja has her private members bill designed to expose and fine these groups for “misleading advertising”.

But while the witch-hunt against pregnancy support agencies continues, abortionists who leave women maimed, injured and psychologically traumatised are able to practice business as usual.

To be consistent, the Greens should have had a big warning on their website in flashing lights saying “Stay away from Dr Suman Sood!”


Although Sood has now downed tools, it’s not too late for Kerry Nettle to show she cares adding the names of other abortionists who have left women brain damaged, with lacerated cervixes, infection, suffering cardiac arrest and septic abortion - all actual cases.

Perhaps they could warn women off the Brisbane doctor at the Planned Parenthood clinic who left 16-year-old “Sarah” with a severed fallopian tube, a fist-sized hole in her uterus needing 200 stitches, a torn bowel and bladder and missed baby body parts still inside her?

Doesn’t look likely.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

42 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Melinda Tankard Reist is a Canberra author, speaker, commentator and advocate with a special interest in issues affecting women and girls. Melinda is author of Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief after Abortion (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2000), Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics (Spinifex Press, 2006) and editor of Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009). Melinda is a founder of Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation ( Melinda blogs at

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Melinda Tankard Reist

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Melinda Tankard Reist
Article Tools
Comment 42 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy