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Opinion

Texas abortion law puts doctor out of business, closes clinics

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Texas,Abortion,Wendy Davis,Blake Seitz

A Texas law banning late-term abortions passed over State Sen. Wendy Davis's filibuster has brought pro-life advocates another benefit:

It has put late-term abortionist Douglas Karpen out of business.

Karpen does not have admitting privileges at Texas hospitals as required by the law, which means he cannot carry out abortions in the state.

Karpen drew outrage and legal scrutiny when three of his clinic workers accused him of killing babies after birth -- a practice made famous by Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who's now serving a life sentence for murder.

In December, a Texas grand jury concluded it did not have enough evidence to indict Karpen. Still, his legal troubles are not over: He faces a malpractice lawsuit from a woman who suffered a life-threatening injury to her uterus following an abortion he performed.

The bill already has closed up to 19 abortion clinics that did not meet its health standards. While there were 41 clinics in December 2010, only 22 remain.

The abortion clinics that are still open are on shaky ground. In September, the law will require abortion clinics to qualify as ambulatory surgical centers, with proper ventilators, air conditioning systems, backup power generators and hallways wide enough for hospital stretchers. This requirement jeopardizes all but six of the clinics in Texas.

Pro-life groups are jubilant at the news, but abortion advocates call it a “crisis situation.”

According to Kelly Kart, senior director of government relations for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas in Dallas, after the ASC requirement takes effect, “We don’t anticipate there will be a women’s clinic west of I-35 and south of San Antonio."

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Blake Seitz

Special to the Examiner
The Washington Examiner