Wednesday November 10, 2010

Leroy Carhart Forced to Move Late-Term Abortion Business out of Nebraska

By Peter J. Smith

OMAHA, Nebraska, November 10, 2010 ( – Late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart has announced he will attempt to set up shop in three different states in order to continue performing late-term abortions that are now illegal under a new Nebraska law.

Carhart says he plans to have three new abortion facilities up and running by January with one in the Maryland-D.C. area, and another in Council Bluffs, Iowa offering late-term abortions. He also is acquiring an Indianapolis abortion clinic, which specializes only in early-term abortions.

He said that the reason for moving his late-term abortion business out of Bellvue is Nebraska’s new abortion ban, Legislative Bill 1103. The law prohibits elective abortions after 20 weeks post-conception on the basis that science definitively shows an unborn child feels pain at that age. That standard effectively prohibits Carhart from performing late-term abortions, which provide the bulk of his business.

“This sort of forced us. We had to do it,” Carhart told the Omaha World Herald. “In Iowa and Maryland, we can do the later cases.”

The abortionist plans to coordinate with his lawyers on filing a constitutional challenge against LB 1103, as he moves his business to the new locations.

Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, told the World Herald that Carhart’s decision to move out of state “shows that LB 1103 was the right strategy.”

Local station KETV 7 noted that Carhart said he would need to raise $1.5 million in order to set up the new facilities (the Maryland-D.C. area clinic opening on Dec. 6).

However local pro-life advocates said that Carhart’s ambitions to fundraise his clinics from private donors is more easily said than done.

“Carhart made similar headlines when he announced last year that he would be opening a late-term abortion clinic with 25 miles of Wichita, Kansas, by December 1, 2009,” said Troy Newman, president of the Wichita-based Operation Rescue. “That clinic failed to materialize and we vow to make sure that these plans don’t either.”

Another problem for Carhart is that the gruesome procedure in which he specializes is extremely unpopular in the United States, except amongst a sliver of the most extreme, hard core of the abortion movement. During a preliminary injunction hearing in a US District Court in 1997 on the issue of late-term abortions, Carhart testified that he would sometimes dismember advanced-stage unborn babies during abortions, while the babies were still alive. Carhart described in detail the process of grasping the limb of the baby to be removed, and then twisting it off. When asked if the babies usually die during the process of dismemberment, Carhart responded, “I don’t really know. I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see the fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.”

The nature of Carhart’s abortion activities last year led Nebraska’s attorney general Jon Bruning to state, “I’m disgusted and I’m saddened and I hate it that he’s here in Nebraska, and I hate it that he’s in America.” “I mean, this guy is one sick individual.”

Newman said that Carhart “lacks the finances to implement his expansion plans” but also finds himself in a bind “because he needs to do the lucrative late-term abortions to remain financially solvent.”

The organization plans to coordinate with pro-life groups in both states to make sure that the abortionist does not follow through on his planned expansion.

Carhart for his part, has decided to remain mum about the location of his new clinics, telling the Washington Post, that he did not want to give pro-life advocates a head start. He did say he was looking for a location proximate to airports and city metros.

“The patients, when they call, will be told where to go,” he said. “The ‘antis’ will find out soon enough, but I don’t want to help them.”

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