By Patrick B. Craine
August 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Newsweek's Sarah Kliff added her voice to the media campaign softening the image of late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart on Saturday with her report 'The Abortion Evangelist', but says she did not anticipate and has difficulty explaining her emotional reaction to witnessing Carhart actually take the life of an unborn child.
Kliff spent 4 days visiting Carhart's Nebraska abortuary, interviewing him, speaking with the mothers who were seeking abortions, and watching him at work. Painting him as a martyr for the cause, she describes Carhart's plight as one of the few remaining abortionists left in the country willing to abort late in pregnancy, and his commitment to that cause despite his fears of being killed by vigilante anti-abortionists, as was his friend George Tiller.
In a companion piece to the story, however, Kliff admits that while she is an experienced reporter on abortion-related issues, she was surprised by her emotional reaction to witnessing an abortion for the first time.
Travelling to Nebraska, Kliff says, she was not sure if she even wanted to watch an abortion. "I confess I was hesitant to step into Carhart's operating room," she says. Knowing that she would most likely see a first-term abortion, rather than late-term, and knowing all that was involved, "I still felt uneasy," she says.
She attributes her reluctance to abortion's controversial nature. "I was nervous, I think, to watch something so controversial. ... I didn't know how I'd react."
She began by interviewing patients and going through the preparatory procedures with them, but says that "When their names were called, and I'd spent all morning with these women, it felt unnatural to stop short of the operating room."
Entering a room with a glass window giving her a view into both of Carhart's abortion rooms, she watched as Carhart worked to "empty the contents of the uterus" of several women.
While to her the first-term abortions "looked like an extended, more invasive version of a standard ob-gyn exam," "there was a discomfort I hadn't expected," she says, "my emotional reaction to watching abortions."
She describes several examples that made her react: a married couple in their mid-30s; a single mother with a 10-year-old daughter, who began to cry when they discussed abortion; and a 23-year-old who was 16 weeks pregnant.
Upon her return from Nebraska, Kliff was surprised by the reactions of her pro-abortion friends. "Friends who supported legal abortion bristled slightly when I told them where I'd been and what I'd watched," she says. "Acquaintances at a party looked a bit regretful to have asked about my most recent assignment."
Finally, she says, she continues to struggle with her reaction. "I had (and still have) difficulty understanding my own reaction," she says, "both relieved to have watched a minimally invasive surgery and distressed by the emotionality of the process. Abortion involves weighty choices that, depending on how you view it, involve a life, or the potential for life."
Operation Rescue (OR) announced today that Nebraska is launching an investigation into Carhart's abortion business. OR says that the safety and legality of Carhart's abortion business are questionable. The abortionist has botched numerous abortions in the past, leading to emergency trips to the hospital and the death of one woman due to a third-trimester abortion.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Nebraska Launches Investigation Into Carhart's Abortion Business