COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa, November 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines has not taken lightly the news that a notorious late-term abortionist is seeking to move into his backyard.

The Iowa prelate has issued a call-to-arms to local Catholics against plans by abortionist Leroy Carhart to move his business to the area.

Carhart left his longtime abortion location in Bellevue, Nebraska after the state passed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation. He has since aroused widespread indignation from Iowa pro-lifers with his plans to resume aborting late-term children in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Although about 300 pro-life advocates in a city council meeting this week cheered when the council voted unanimously to ensure that a vacant lot eyed by Carhart would remain unavailable, city officials said the abortionist would likely have little trouble locating his facility elsewhere in the area, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Bishop Pates responded to the news by urging his flock to respond with vigor against the “unspeakable possibility” of Carhart’s business flourishing nearby, recalling the worldwide Vigil for Nascent Human Life led by Pope Benedict XVI last weekend.

“This commemoration takes on special focus for the people in the city of Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County this year insofar as late term abortionist, Leroy Carhart, has indicated his intention to set-up shop in the area to practice the taking of life of young people at a vulnerable stage,” wrote Pates.

“The good citizens of Iowa must recognize this assault on the life of our younger brothers and sisters as a crisis of life or death, for that is truly what it is. No ambiguous terminology, no word has the power to change the reality of things.”

Pates encouraged “each member of our congregations” to speak out against Carhart to the local government “in order to exercise our public responsibility of protecting the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.” He noted that parish leaders are already gathering contact information for city, county, and state officials for that purpose.

The bishop emphasized the need to support women in difficult pregnancies, including counseling and adoption services through Catholic Charities, and Gabriel’s Corner, a pregnancy counseling center in Council Bluffs.