Throughout the trial of Kermit Gosnell, pro-life activists maintained that the Philadelphia abortionist was not alone; that, in clinics across America, abortions are performed on pregnant women weeks later than the legal limit, unsanitary conditions with untrained and unqualified staff are commonplace, and babies are delivered alive, only to be murdered in whatever fashion seems most expedient to the abortion doctor.
A story out of Houston suggests that they might be right.
Harris County authorities and the Texas Department of State Health Services are investigating a local doctor accused Wednesday by an anti-abortion group of performing late-term abortions in 2011.
“We have several people looking into the allegations,” said Sara Marie Kinney, a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney.
In an email, DSHS spokeswoman Carrie Williams said the agency, which monitors abortion facilities across the state, is “aware of the allegations, and we are investigating.” Added Williams: “This is a very high priority for us.”
The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue issued a report on Wednesday saying that three former employees of Dr. Douglas Karpen‘s Houston clinic had relayed accounts of fetuses that had been illegally aborted and provided them with grisly photographs.
The Operation Rescue report on Dr. Karpen’s clinic can be read here. The three former clinic workers contacted the group as part of its Abortion Whistleblowers Program, which offers a reward to those providing information that leads the arrest and conviction of abortion doctors breaking the law. They have also been in contact with And Then There Were None, a group founded by Abby Johnson to assist those wanting to leave the abortion industry.
The Operation Rescue report alleges that Dr. Karpen routinely performed abortions past 24 weeks, the legal limit in Texas, and that in many cases the babies were delivered alive and then killed.
“When he did an abortion, especially an over 20 week abortion, most of the time the fetus would come completely out before he cut the spinal cord or he introduced one of the instruments into the soft spot of the fetus, in order to kill the fetus,” said Deborah Edge, who worked as a surgical assistant for Karpen for about 15 years until leaving in March, 2011.
“I thought, well, it’s an abortion you know, that’s what he does, but I wasn’t aware that it was illegal…Most of the time we would see him where the fetus would come completely out and of course, the fetus would still be alive,” Edge continued.
How often did this happen?
“I think every morning I saw several, on several occasions,” she said. “If we had 20-something patients, of course ten, or twelve, or fifteen patients would be large procedures, and out of those large procedures, I’m pretty sure that I was seeing at least three or four fetuses that were completely delivered in some way or another,” said Edge, acknowledging that these babies would be alive.
She described how some babies would emerge too soon and would be alive, moving, and breathing. She also told of how Karpen would sometimes deliver the babies feet first with the toes wiggling until he stabbed them with a surgical implement. At the moment the toes would suddenly splay out before going limp. Sometimes he would kill the babies by “twisting the head off the neck,” according to Edge.
Women would be given doses of Cytotec, a drug that causes strong and unpredictable uterine contractions, and would deliver while they were waiting in line to see Karpen, some in toilets, one in the hallway.
“He just picked it up with one of those [chux] pads and put it in the trash bag,” said Krystal Rodriguez of the baby born in the hallway.
“As long as the patient had the cash, he was going to do it past 25 weeks,” she said.
Operation Rescue says it presented information to the Texas Medical Board, only to have the case dismissed due to “insufficient evidence to prove that a violation of the Medical Practices Act occurred.” On Wednesday, Texas’ Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said that “Harris County authorities should perform a full-scale investigation and take action against those who broke state law.”