The U.S. Department of Justice revealed recently that it has sent the case of a Texas abortionist accused of killing live babies to the FBI's Houston office.
According to a report from the pro-life organization Operation Rescue on Monday, a letter from DOJ to the watchdog group stated that the case of Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen has been "forwarded to the FBI Houston Field Office for any action deemed necessary."
Who is Karpen?
Harris County authorities said in May 2013 that they were investigating Karpen for conducting late-term abortions in 2011, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Four women who used to work for Karpen accused the doctor of performing illegal abortions. Operation Rescue originally brought the women's testimony and photographic evidence to the public.
According to their testimony and photos, the babies were killed far past the legal limit of 24 weeks and had had their necks cut.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said at the time:
The photos show babies that are huge, with gashes in their necks, indicating that these babies were likely born alive, then killed, just as Kermit Gosnell did at his "House of Horrors" clinic in Philadelphia. In fact, there are numerous similarities between Karpen and the Gosnell case, including the disregarding of complaints by the authorities that allowed both men to continue their illegal operations.
Three of the four women appeared on camera for an interview with Life Dynamics, Inc. In the interview, the women stated that in most of the post-20-weeks abortions Karpen conducted, the babies were completely out of the womb when the abortionist would sever the spinal cord or use one of his instruments on the "soft spot" of the baby.
Deborah Edge, one of the women interviewed, stated:
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.
Edge said that at the time she didn't know that what was being done was illegal.
"Most of the time we would see him where the fetus would come completely out," she said, "and, of course, the fetus would still be alive.”
According to Edge, this was not a rare occurrence. She stated that "every morning" she saw "several" fetuses who had been "completely delivered in some way or another." She said that had Karpen not killed the babies, they would have lived.
She went on to allege that some babies would come out too quickly and would move and breathe before being killed.
Some of the female patients reportedly gave birth in the restroom — one even gave birth in the hallway — Krystal Rodriguez, another accuser, said.
“He just picked it up ... and put it in the trash bag,” Rodriguez said about the baby born in the hallway. “As long as the patient had the cash, he was going to do it past 25 weeks.”
(Content warning: The subject matter in this video may be disturbing to some viewers):
Why wasn't this investigated before?
According to Operation Rescue, following the initial report exposing Karpen's alleged crimes, political shenanigans may have tainted the investigation and the grand jury:
That report and ensuing complaints prompted a grand jury “investigation” that declined to indict Karpen. Operation Rescue later learned that grand jury was tainted by improper communications between then-District Attorney Devon Anderson and Karpen’s criminal defense attorney Chip Lewis, who were close family friends. Lewis later donated $25,000 to Anderson’s political campaigns.
After the grand jury failed to indict, Operation Rescue in 2015 sent the Karpen file to the U.S. House Select Panel on Infant Lives that was investigating evidence that Planned Parenthood was engaging in the illegal trafficking of aborted baby parts.
The panel referred the Karpen case to President Barack Obama's DOJ on Dec. 7, 2016, but no action was taken. The panel then renewed the referral in 2017 to President Donald Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
Operation Rescue Senior Vice President Cheryl Sullenger said that her organization viewed the DOJ letter as an encouraging development and hoped that the FBI's investigation will finally bring Karpen to justice:
The letter I received from the Department of Justice is encouraging. The photos depict wounds inflicted on those babies that could not have been done inside the womb. After having personally attended the Pennsylvania trial of Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murdering living babies after failed abortions, I knew we could never give up seeking prosecutions for Karpen’s similar crimes
We are grateful for this new FBI investigation that has renewed our hope that Karpen may finally be brought to justice.