HOUSTON, TX, March 18, 2014 ( – The woman suing late-term abortionist Douglas Karpen for a botched abortion last year experienced a life-threatening injury that constituted “one of the worst injuries” the OB/GYN who treated her “had ever seen or read about,” according to court documents.

Shocking new details have emerged from the legal complaint filed against Karpen and two of his abortion facilities by Melanie Mendoza.

Mendoza found out she was 22 weeks pregnant at Aaron's Medical Center of Houston last February 7.


“Abortion is a low-risk procedure,” Karpen and his staff said to the young woman, who was then 20.

“Hemorrhage or excessive bleeding following an abortion is most often much less than that which occurs following a full-term or premature pregnancy,” they added. It was “highly unlikely any uncomplicated or mid trimester abortion will cause a problem with infertility or future pregnancies.”

Mendoza scheduled an abortion for the following week – February 14, 2013 – at Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center, another of Karpen's Houston abortion offices.

Left until the end of day, she thought she had been forgotten and felt the procedure was rushed.

After experiencing intense pain, she went to the West Houston Medical Center on February 15.

An on-call OB/GYN said she suffered a “ruptured uterus.”

Karpen had slashed the posterior uterus in a “T-shape form.” The uterine cavity “was completely open from this defect with the uterine arteries exposed. There was extension of the laceration to the posterior broad ligament,” according to the legal document obtained by Operation Rescue.

Mendoza's lawyer told the court the physician who examined her “will testify that what she thereafter observed with respect to the nature and extent of the injuries caused by Dr. Karpen was one of the worst injuries to a uterus that she had ever seen or read about.”

Her attorney said Mendoza now suffers from “permanent injuries.”

“It is extremely doubtful that the Defendant Dr. Karpen will claim that what he did to Ms. Mendoza is a 'poster child' of whatever skills he professes as a surgeon,” the legal complaint states caustically.

The severity of the injuries required an immediate emergency surgery.

That doctor told Mendoza if she had not come to the emergency room when she did, she probably would have died. He added that any future pregnancy presents a permanent risk to her life.

Significantly, the injury happened just one week after the Texas Medical Board dismissed a complaint against Karpen without prejudice due to “insufficient evidence.” Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser at Operation Rescue, filed a complaint based on the testimony of three former Karpen employees last February 8.

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Those employees later told Life Dynamics in a videotaped interview that Karpen would regularly allow babies to be born alive before he “cut the spinal cord or introduced one of the instruments into the soft-spot” of the newborn's head. “Either that or twisting the head off the neck with his own bare hands,” said Deborah Edge.

The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Harris County District Attorney's Office investigated Karpen in May. But in December, a grand jury did not indict him.

“Now that Ms. Mendoza’s lawsuit has corroborated this part of our informant’s allegations, we believe their other allegations now have more credibility,” said Troy Newman, Operation Rescue president. “We are calling on authorities such as the Texas Medical Board to reopen investigations into Karpen’s practices and take emergency action to prevent him from inflicting harm on anyone else.”

Mendoza is suing for medical costs as well as seeking damages for disfigurement, physical pain, and mental anguish.

“The Mendoza allegations are serious enough that it would be negligent if Texas Medical Board and other authorities don’t take a second look at Karpen,” Newman said.

A 15-year-old girl, Denise Montoya, died during a Karpen abortion in 1985, as well.

“We just have to wonder how many more women will suffer or even die before the” Texas Medical Board and “other officials stop protecting this dangerous man,” Newman said.