Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nicolette C. and Why I Believe the Karpan Allegations

I was a bit taken aback when the abortionist discussed in the Life Dynamics video turned out to be Douglas Karpen. I'd known that he was quacktastic, greedy, indifferent to the well-being of his patients, and willing to perform post-viability abortions. It just never occurred to me that he'd be aborting the babies alive then slaughtering them in a variety of gruesome ways. (WARNING: Extremely graphic content)

The revelations made by three ex-Karpen employees make Kermit Gosnell's "snipping" seem merciful in comparison. They described Karpen ripping the babies' throats out with Bierer forceps (chosen for their grasping surfaces, pictured), twisting their heads off with his bare hands, jamming instruments through the soft spot into their brains, hooking his finger through their throats, and jamming instruments into their abdomens. How Karpen killed any particular baby, his ex-employees said, depended on whatever he happened to grab first when confronted with a living baby.

The Life Dynamics video. WARNING: Extremely disturbing content.

In retrospect, I should not have been surprised. Clearly he did very late abortions, including a fatal 25-week abortion he'd performed on 15-year-old Denise Montoya. But was Karpen doing these abortions in a manner that the baby could survive?

A suit filed on behalf of Nicolette C, age 16, alleged that Nicolette called Karpen's facility from her home in Louisiana, seeking counsel regarding her pregnancy. Clinic employees advised abortion and quoted a price of $895, with the price to increase with each passing week. About 10 days later, Nicolette called to schedule the procedure, and the price quoted was $1,050.

Nicolette drove alone to the facility, without parental knowledge or consent. Women's Pavillion didn't even ask Nicolette if her parents would consent to the abortion. Upon Nicolette's arrival, the staff quoted a price of $1,800, and refused to proceed without full payment.

Nicolette left the facility to pawn jewelry but was unable to secure sufficient funds, so she returned home to borrow additional money and returned the following day. She paid for the procedure, and laminaria was inserted to dilate her cervix. Nicolette was told to return the following day.

After leaving the facility, Nicolette felt fetal movements, and felt unprepared as she had not been informed of the nature of the procedure or of fetal development. After feeling her fetus move, Nicolette changed her mind about wanting it dead. She returned to the facility, asking that the laminaria be removed and her pregnancy be allowed to continue, but abortionist Karpen did not answer her questions, and told Nicolette to continue with abortion. He told her that the procedure was irreversible and that any attempt to allow the pregnancy to continue would seriously threaten her health. (This is, by the way, not true. Women can change their minds, have the laminaria removed, and continue to term.)

Laminaria sticks,
showing how they
epand to dilate the cervix
When they got to Women's Pavilion, mother and daughter were met by Richard Cunningham rather than by Karpen. They were informed that Cunningham and Karpen had consulted and did not wish to remove the laminaria (pictured) and release Nicolette to other care. After 30 minutes of "high pressure scare tactics," mother and daughter still wished to have the procedure stopped. Cunningham instructed them "to look in the yellow pages for an anti-abortion group," insisted that they sign a release form, and had them leave the facility.

Mother and daughter sought emergency care at a hospital, where Nicolette delivered a 1 lb. 13 oz. infant girl, who Nicolette named Ashley. Despite efforts by hospital staff, Ashley died six months later.

The suit alleged that the actions of Karpen and others at the facility constituted a breach of the law against abortions past 26 weeks except for medical indications. Nicolette's attorney faulted Karpen and the clinic staff with failure to obtain lawful consent; "making false and misleading statements to Nicolette about the development of Ashley, in order to gain Nicolette's consent by fear;" continuing with insertion of laminaria and allowing labor to continue in order to end the life of the fetus when the mother wished for the fetus to live; failing to refer Nicolette to a hospital that could have reversed the abortion and saved Ashley's life; and inflicting deliberate emotional distress "in order to coerce them into allowing the abortion to continue." A suit was also filed for the wrongful death of baby Ashley. (Harris County District Court Case No. 93-33063)

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