Douglas Karpen, an abortionist with a history of abuses against people and the law, is finally being investigated seriously.

Karpen has a history of abuses and negligence dating back to 1988. At least one person, a 15 year old girl, has died as a direct result of his negligence and illegal activity. He was investigated along with four other abortionists in October 2011 by the Texas Medical Board (TMB). A written complaint was submitted by Operation Rescue after a year-long investigation into various Texas abortion clinics which appeared to be breaking state laws. Allegations included:

  • Violations of the informed consent laws
  • Violations of the 24-hour waiting period
  • Coaching minor girls to cross state lines to avoid Texas parental notification laws
  • A willingness to ignore cases of child sex abuse
  • Illegal disposal of private patient information in violation of HIPAA
  • Improper handling and disposal of controlled substances
  • Illegal disposal of aborted baby remains
  • Dirty, poorly maintained facilities

Shortly after the original complaint filed with the TMB, an additional witness who was a former worker for Karpen came forward to add to the allegations. Additionally, an anonymous informant gave Operation Rescue a file with an Excel spreadsheet containing billing information for four months of abortions in 2011. The Excel file indicated several different abortion funds were billed for part of the cost of the abortion— the allegation being Karpen was over-billing and pocketing the extra cash. Though that allegation could not absolutely be substantiated, the Excel sheet showed how much Karpen charged for abortions.

For example,

“March, 2011, listed 33 abortions that were partially paid for with abortion funds or other sources. Over $38,000 in cash was paid by patients. The file showed 5 abortions that cost under $1,000, 7 abortions that were between $1,000-2,000, 12 abortions that cost between $2,000-$3,000, and 3 abortions that were over $3,000. The greater the gestational age, the higher the abortion fee. How old were the two babies whose abortions cost $3,700?”

The written complaint to the TMB was amended with witness statements, the information from the Excel file, video evidence of violations within the abortion clinics run by Karpen, and photos of large, late-term aborted fetuses whose necks had been gruesomely cut. The additional allegations included:

  • Falsification of ultrasounds to produce younger fetal ages of babies over the legal limit or older fetal ages to extract more money out of women
  • Fraudulent billing practices
  • Surgical equipment not properly sterilized
  • Reuse of disposable instruments
  • Unqualified workers drawing and administering drugs
  • Late-term abortions done at 28 weeks and later (Texas law permits only to 24 weeks)
  • Lack of adequate nursing staff
  • Concealing poorly kept logs from inspectors to prevent deficiency citations
  • Hiring nurses through a temp agency to work only on days when inspections are scheduled
  • Mistreating heavy women and inappropriately touching attractive women while under sedation
  • Sexual harassment

Although the TMB seemed to initially be taking the investigation into the allegations seriously, in February 2013, Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue surprisingly got a letter from the TMB explaining the case was dismissed due to “insufficient evidence to prove that a violation of the Medical Practices Act occurred. Specifically, this investigation determined that Dr. Karpen did not violate the laws connected with the practice of medicine and there is no evidence of inappropriate behavior.” The form letter was not even signed or stamped by an official from the TMB.

Operation Rescue decided to go public with the evidence against Karpen. They teamed up with Life Dynamics to produce a video interview with three former workers of Karpen’s, assistants in his abortion clinics who saw him often deliver whole, living human fetuses and kill them outside the mother’s body by snipping their spines (like Kermit Gosnell), twisting their heads with his bare hands to snap their necks, shoving forceps or laminaria through the soft spot on top of the baby’s skull, or sticking an instrument through their abdomen.

In 2016, the United State’s Committee on Energy and Commerce website released the referral letters from the U.S. House Select Panel on Infant Lives concerning Karpen. The letters were sent to Judges Loretta Lynch and Ken Paxton.

The identical letters briefly presented witness evidence and stated in conclusion,

“[Karpen] was previously referred to the District Attorney of Harris County, but the investigation into the matter was deficient. In light of the gravity of the allegations outlined above and the supporting documentation, I urge your office to conduct a thorough investigation into whether [Karpen] violated federal and state law, and, if you agree that such violations occurred, to take all appropriate action.”

Ms. Sullenger from Operation Rescue followed up with the Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning the referral of Karpen in 2017. While the DOJ could not give much information regarding the investigation, they did let her know by letter this May that the referral had been “documented and forwarded to the FBI’s Houston field office for any action deemed necessary.”

Karpen’s manipulation and mistreatment of women, his greed, disregard for state and federal laws, and his utterly horrendous methods of killing vulnerable children does not necessarily make him an outlier in the abortion industry. Unfortunately, many abortionists and clinics have been under investigation, charged, and/or convicted of wrongdoing in many different areas of state and federal law.  For example, just in Texas, the TMB was investigating a total of ten abortionists and 2 abortion facilities back in 2011: Robert Hanson, Alan Molson, William W. West, Jr., Franz Theard, Douglas A. Karpen, Pedro J. Kowalyszyn, Sherwood C. Lynn, Margaret Kini, Robert L. Prince, and H. Brook Randal, and Whole Women’s Health abortion clinics in Austin and McAllen.

Additionally, there was the conviction and imprisonment of Gosnell in 2013, an abortionist who killed babies who were born after botched abortion attempts by snipping their spines. Abortionist Robert Rho was convicted in 2016 of second-degree manslaughter of a patient who died after receiving a botched, illegal abortion at one of his clinics. James Scott Pendergraft just had his medical license revoked this month. He illegally distributed drugs and performed abortions in his van in states he did not have a medical license.

Live Action has put together a report of publicly available information on several court cases and investigations into Planned Parenthood’s unwillingness to lawfully report child molestation, sexual abuse of minors, and sex trafficking. Planned Parenthood also violates health and safety standards, parental consent, falsifies bookkeeping, covers up harm to women, and kills babies born alive.

Women, men, children, and American society deserve better than Karpen and doctors like him who are willing to break the law and grossly mistreat humans in his care to make as much money as possible.

Update: According to the Texas Medical Board official website, as of May 2021, Karpen’s medical license is currently active and there are no disciplinary measures on his record.

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.