Antiabortion group accuses Dr. Douglas Karpen of late-term abortions, authorities investigating
Screengrab from Operation Rescue
It seems that Philadelphia might not be the only city in the United States with its very own late-term abortion doctor. That's right folks, Houston may have its very own version of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, according to a report issued by Operation Rescue.
The Kansas-based pro-life/antiabortion/whatever's-the-correct-term group issued a report with stories from three former employees of Dr. Douglas Karpen who claim that the doctor performed illegal late-term abortions at his Houston clinic on fetuses past the "viable fetus" legal cut-off point.
The women, Deborah Edge, Gigi Aguliar and Krystal Rodriguez, appear in a video produced by Life Dynamics Inc., a Denton-based antiabortion organization. The video, released on Tuesday, is from an interview from May 3, according to Life Dynamics.
In the video the women sit before a black background. Deborah Edge, who worked as a surgical assistant for Karpen for about 15 years until March 2011, does most of the talking, recounting some details that are decidedly on the grisly side.
Battle of the Piney Woods: SFA vs. SHSU
TicketsSat., Oct. 1, 3:00pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTSA Roadrunners Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 6:00pm
Rice University Owls Football vs. Prairie View A&M University Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 22, 2:30pm
Edge tells of Karpen's alleged methods of terminating fetuses who were still alive after being pulled from the womb, including snipping the spine, twisting the neck, cutting the neck and doing various awful-sounding things to the soft spot on fetus heads.
"You saw this happen?" a man off camera asks Edge.
"I think every morning I saw several, on several occasions," Edge replied.
She said the doctor performed abortions where the babies were fully delivered and then killed as well as abortions where the fetus was older than 24 weeks.
"I thought, well, it's an abortion, you know, that's what he does, but I wasn't aware that it was illegal," Edge said.
Harris County authorities and the Texas Department of State Health Services, the entity charged with overseeing abortions, confirmed the accusations are being investigated, according to The Houston Chronicle.
In the report, Operation Rescue didn't mention why these three women left Karpen's employment. The release did mention that the women came forward with their information as a result of the group's Abortion Whistleblowers Program, which offers a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of abortionists who are breaking the law. So, you know, there's that.
Operation Rescue also got the women lawyers when legal issues came up, and contacted an organization that gives financial assistance to former abortion workers, according to the release.
This is the kind of shindig that brings out the political animals faster than the clang of a dinner bell or a drop of blood in the water and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has already jumped right in. In the wake of Gosnell's conviction for the murders of three infants that were born alive, Dewhurst released a statement that pretty much reads the way all these statements read, as in:
"In a week when serial murderer Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of killing babies, I read with disgust about the allegations of Houston-based abortionist Douglas Karpen performing illegal late-term abortions surrounded by appalling sanitary conditions in his clinic," according to the statement. "The Harris County authorities should perform a full-scale investigation and take action against those who broke state law."
It is worth noting that this isn't Karpen's first rodeo with abortion issues. He was sued and sort-of convicted in 2004 for negligence in a case where an underage woman used a fake ID to prove she was old enough for an abortion, according to The Houston Chronicle. (Fun fact: The case was the first of its kind, according to the Chronicle, because the jury found that 90 percent of the blame was on the woman and 10 percent on Karpen, allowing both sides to claim victory.)
However, right this second, Karpen has a clean record and usable license, according to the Texas Medical Board. While Sara Marie Kinney with the Harris County DA's office and Carrie Williams with the DSHS both confirmed that their organizations are looking into the allegations, Karpen hasn't been charged with anything yet. So let's all keep that in mind.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.