Abortion Practitioner Convicted of Manslauter in Legal Abortion Death
- Abortion Practitioner Convicted of Manslauter in Legal Abortion Death
Source: Associated Press, Arizona Republic; May 5, 2001
Phoenix, AZ -- An abortion practitioner was convicted of manslaughter and
sentenced yesterday to five years in prison for a botched abortion that
led to the death of a 33-year-old woman.
LouAnne Herron bled to death in 1999 after John Biskind punctured her
uterus during an abortion at the now-closed A-Z Women's Center abortion
facility in Phoenix. Prosecutors demonstrated that Biskind and
co-defendant Carol Stuart-Schadoff, administrator of the abortion
facility, did not care for Herron adequately as she bled heavily following
the abortion. No doctors or registered nurses remained at the facility
following the abortion, and Biskind testified that he did not return and
instead went shopping after being notified of Herron's condition,
deferring treatment to a nearby hospital.
They also pointed out that Biskind and Stuart-Schadoff ignored sonograms
that showed Herron's pregnancy was too advanced for an abortion.
Prosecutors said seven sonograms performed on Herron showed the length of
her pregnancy ranged from 26 weeks to 23 weeks and three days, but six of
those documents were lost or destroyed by the defendants.
Superior Court Judge Michael O. Wilkinson sentenced Biskind, 75, and
Stuart-Schadoff, 63, who was sentenced to four years probation and 500
hours of community service. She was convicted of negligent homicide for
her role in arranging the abortion and waiting so long to call for
Wilkinson also ordered Biskind to pay $12,841.40 in restitution. He has 20
days to file an appeal.
Herron's father, Mike Gibbs, attended the sentencing and said he was
satisfied with Biskind's sentence.
Shane Wickfors, Executive Director of Arizona Right to Life said his group
was "very disappointed" by the weak sentence.
"During the sentencing," Wickfors explained, "Biskind turned to the family
of LouAnne Herron and stated, 'I goofed.' It was clear that Biskind
continued to show reckless disregard for his actions and the value of
"We are extremely disappointed that the judge did not sentence him to the
maximum 12 years. Biskind has yet to show any sincere remorse in this
terrible tragedy. It's very clear that the only thing he's sorry about is
his incompetence," Wikfors stated.
In final statements, Biskind's attorney, Lawrence Kazan, stated that
"abortion lends itself to these kinds of mishaps," acknowledging the risks
and dangers associated with abortion.
Biskind's Arizona medical license was revoked after a botched abortion on
a 17-year-old girl in June 1998. In that case, she was rushed to a
hospital and a doctor delivered a full-term baby who Biskind had estimated
at 23.6 weeks. He also had surrendered his license to practice in Ohio.
But Biskind is not the first abortion practitioner in the nation convicted
for performing a botched abortion. California abortion practitioner Bruce
Steir, 69, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last year after
botching an abortion and killing a woman. He only served 114 days before
being released on parole.
Like Biskind, Steir had perforated the uterus of the mother, 27-year-old
Sharon Hamptlon, while performing an abortion of her 20-week-old unborn
child. Hamptlon bled to death in front of her 3-year-old son while being
driven home by her mother after the abortion. Having been on probation
with the medical board since 1988, Steir surrendered his license to
practice medicine four months after Hamptlon's death.
The defendants were denied a motion for a new trial based in part on
Wilkinson's admission of evidence relating to the unborn child's
viability. While Arizona law does not specify a date that a doctor cannot
perform an abortion, it does prohibit abortions after viability -- usually
22 to 26 weeks.
Stuart-Schadoff's attorney, Cameron Morgan, said he plans to file an
appeal, claiming Stuart-Schadoff and Biskind should have been tried
Biskind was immediately taken into custody and will serve his time in the
Maricopa County correctional system, run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Best known
for his policies requiring inmates to eat discolored food, wear pink
underwear and black-and-white striped uniforms. His "tent city" and both
male and female chain gangs are a throw-back to prison practices of the
early part of the 20th century -- practices that many observers say are
necessary and preferable to the privileges -- such as cable television --
prisoners received in other facilities.