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The Amazing "Dr." Karman
Former prochoice icon vanishes into oblivion
 More of this Feature
• Harvey the Inventor
• Mothers Day in Philly
 Explore This Site
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• Abortion History
• Abortion Malpractice
• Legal Abortion Advantages
• Behind Closed Doors
 Food for Thought
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• Abortion, Law, and Real Choice
• Abortion, Suffering, and the Chinese Widow
• The Abortion War and Communication
• Another Anti-Choice Fanatic
• Are Abortions Used as Birth Control?
• The Bad Old Days of Abortion
• Botched Abortion Leads to Amputation
• Coathanger Abortion: Powerful image, but how true to life?
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• The "Koop Report" on Abortion
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• Misplaced Priorities Cost Women's Lives
• A Mother's Nightmare
• Pro Child/Pro Choice Rings Hollow
• Question Abortion
• Stress and the Abortion Decision
• Study - Effect of Abortion Legalization on Sexual Behavior: Evidence from Sexually Transmitted Diseases
• Unequal Burden on the Poor?
• Unintended Late Abortions
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• What's "Adequate Access" to Abortion?
• What's the Need for Abortion?
• When the POC Really is Just Tissue
• Where's the Pro Choice Movement on Elective Amputations?
• Who is the Enemy?
• Who's Putting the Unborn Ahead of the Born?
• Women Who Change Their Minds After the Abortion
• Women's Rights are Common Ground
• Your Bedroom, the Government, and Abortion Laws
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Archives: Video with Harvey Karman available online

Although the mainstream media love to show us every flake that identifies himself or herself with opposition to abortion, they tend to ignore colorful folks on the pro choice side. One of the most intriguing characters of the abortion advocacy movement was (is?) "Dr." Harvey Karman.

I have no clue where Harvey is nowadays. Last I'd heard he was on the lam, trying to avoid yet another arrest. That was just a rumor though. He might be doing just about anything. He might be dead. He might surface anyplace. Harvey, if you're out there, let us know what you're up to.

Harvey fancied himself a doctor, and even awarded himself a PhD from an imaginary university in Europe in order to identify himself as "Dr. Karman." Actually, he was a dropout from the UCLA school of theatrical arts. But what did that matter? Harvey didn't have much of an education, but he had limitless chutzpah and an unflagging enthusiasm for abortion. The pro choice movement embraced him without ever checking his credentials.

Harvey's background was checkered, to say the least. His rap sheet included nine felonies in Los Angeles County alone, with a lot of those arrests connected to his budding career as an abortionist. He had managed to kill one Joyce Johnson by performing an illegal abortion on her with a nutcracker in a hotel room. He was sent to prison for this little escapade, but was pardoned by Jerry Brown when he became Governor.

A prison record seems to be more of a badge of honor than a stain of shame for an abortionist, because after his release Harvey's career really took off. Harvey ingratiated himself to the administration of a new California abortion hospital after that state legalized, and he set up an experimental program using "super coils," which were plastic springs inserted into the uterus to cause an abortion.

Next: Harvey the Inventor

1. Bernard N. Nathanson, Aborting America, Life Cycle Books, 1979
2. Centers for Disease Control Abortion Surviellance 1972, issued 1974 New York Times, 12/13/72
3. Judith P. Bourne, R.M., et al., "Medical Complications from Induced Abortion by the Super Coil Method," Health Services Report v. 89, n. 1, January-February 1974
4. Laura Kaplan, The Story of Jane, University of Chicago Press, 1997
5. Mark Crutcher, Lime 5, Life Dynamics, 1996


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