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Grand Jury Clears Texas Physician Accused of Illegal Abortions

Grand Jury Clears Texas Physician Accused of Illegal Abortions

January 2, 2014 — A Texas grand jury on Dec. 20 refused to indict a Houston-based physician whom an antiabortion-rights group had claimed performed illegal abortions, the Houston Chronicle reports (Rogers, Houston Chronicle, 12/20/13).

In May, the group Operation Rescue released a report accusing physician Douglas Karpen of killing infants born alive after attempted third-trimester abortions. The allegations were based on statements by three former clinic workers and could not be independently verified.

The report spurred Lt. Gov. David Dewhurt (R) to release a statement demanding that authorities investigate. Later that month, the Texas Department of State Health Services and Harris County authorities launched an investigation into the allegations (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/16/13).

The grand jury's decision effectively absolves Karpen of wrongdoing (Houston Chronicle, 12/20/13). Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement, "An independent grand jury concluded, after lengthy investigation and deliberation, that the evidence does not justify an indictment" (Eckholm, New York Times, 12/23/13).