Leaving Abortion in Texas
One clinic worker’s escape.


LOPEZ: You have said that “many” of the women who came into the clinic were seeking abortions “because the baby was a girl and they wanted a boy.” How common was this occurrence?

EDGE: There were at least a handful of women in our everyday appointments who were having abortions due to gender. They didn’t want another girl or boy, or maybe their husband wanted a certain gender. I often heard that excuse from the patients or sometimes in conversation the patients would have amongst themselves. I remember feeling disgusted in their reasoning, but I would think, “who am I to stop them?”


LOPEZ: What did you hear from women most often?

EDGE: I mainly heard from women that having a baby at that time was not part of their plans. Less frequently, the reasons were drug addiction, rape, abuse, or infidelity. But it seemed that the majority of these women were choosing abortion because they felt like they had no other option. Maybe they didn’t have a support system to help them. Maybe they already had children at home and were struggling. It seemed like they honestly felt that an abortion would be a selfless decision. They thought they were really doing the best thing for their unborn child.

LOPEZ: You occasionally talked women out of abortions. Where would they go from Karpen’s clinic? Were they grateful?

EDGE: There were a few occasions where I was successful in helping women change their minds and choose life. This happened mainly with women who expressed their mixed emotions concerning the abortion. Sometimes we would have mothers bringing in their minor daughters. I would try to take the time to explain to these women that by forcing their daughters to have an abortion, they were putting a wedge in their relationship — one that sometimes can’t be fixed. We had women come in who would say they were only having the abortion because they didn’t have any money to support a child. I would always try to give them information about prenatal Medicaid and other services where they could receive help. The women who left and chose life were always grateful. As Abby says, “No one grows up wanting to have an abortion.” They are always looking for a way out. 

LOPEZ: What is it that made you leave?

EDGE: My plans to leave this industry were always in the back of my mind. But then I would always have to face reality — what would I do when I left? How will I support my children? Who would want to hire a woman who worked in the abortion business? It was scary to even contemplate leaving. I remember feeling very trapped. I did leave for a time, but ultimately returned because of a bad financial situation. I think I had gained a different perspective once I came back. I started to notice a lot of wrongdoing. In my opinion, the staff and patients were not being protected. Protocol was not in place. Women were being sexually harassed. Women were being overcharged based on how they looked or what type of purse they were carrying. My impression was that if Dr. Karpen thought he could charge more and get away with it, he would. I started to realize that as long as I stayed, I was part of the problem.


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