Abortion Battle Shifts to Clinic in Nebraska

A Nebraska doctor has taken up the cause of late-term abortions from his slain colleague George R. Tiller.

Comments: 125

  1. Courageous, important work, Dr. Carhart. Thank you.

  2. For those of us who respect the sanctity of human life and believe a soul is imputed to a Human Being at conception, simply put, abortion runs counter to our very biology.

  3. Thank you, Dr. Carhart.

  4. He has my complete admiration.

  5. Tiller's murder, and the persecution that lead up to it, were disgusting. Dr Carhart is a brave and caring man who must be aware that these fringe obsessives will now target him. Good luck and please, take every precaution: these guys are beyond reason or pity.

  6. Tragically I had to have one of these late term abortions (before they were ever called that). It was in 1986 and took place the week the shuttle crashed. I was a 39 year old first time Mom to be - I had six long years of struggle with infertility and finally got pregnant, made it through the first trimester without a miscarriage and tried to get a chorionic villas sampler test early but was disuaded by my OBGYN who said "everything will be fine". Of course I wanted it to be fine so I waited to 5.5 months and had an aminio. The first amnio did not work but the sonogram was suspicious; two weeks later they tried again and I was told I had a Trisomy 18 fetus, a little boy, unlikely to survive to birth and if he did, would be horribly deformed and die soon. Of course we freaked out. We made the decision to terminate the pregnancy rather than commit suicide (me) and went through with the procedure that fateful week - I had to wait 4 days for the appoiontment and I remember the shuttle crash taking up all the news while I was waiting for my appointment with a fetus already dead, waiting have it done so we could start trying to have a healthy child. The news was so bad, with those lives tragically taken in a second, that it made me feel a little better about my own overwhelming problems. We saw no choice. Had I not been able to go through this awful experience, I might have lost my mind or taken my own life while waiting for a dead or deformed baby to be born. It was truly devastating. The naysayers out there do not understnad what it is like to have to do something like this. I thank goodness THAT WE HAD THIS CHOICE however distasteful the process and the act was and/or is perceived. A little over a year later, by some miracle, I managed to get pregnant again and had a healthy baby girl, over nine pounds, who is now a college graduate. I still think of my son but I would never have had my precious daughter. So anyway, I wanted to share this experience and say that I really appreciate that the doctor in Nebraska has stepped up into this risky business to help women like me, families like mine, do something like this when there is no healthy alternative.

  7. I am deeply moved by this man's commitment to his beliefs and to the rights of women. Indeed it seems his entire family has made sacrifices to protect a woman's right to choose. All I can do right now is send my thanks, but I am going to look for another way to contribute more directly to his clinic as well.

  8. Thank you and bless you, Dr. Carhart. We need more doctors like you.

  9. I applaud Dr. Carhart for so bravely deciding to defend women's rights!

  10. Thank you, Dr. Carhart, for your tireless defense of women's health and rights.

  11. I just don't see what is so heroic about performing late term abortions. It seems nothing less than barbaric when one considers the reasons for most abortions: convenience in a licentious culture.

    Performing life-saving surgery to delicately remove the deadly tentacles of a brain tumor...that's heroic.

  12. OK, so what are the compelling reasons for the last 25 abortions he has performed?

  13. God help us that men devote their lives to such a practice as this.

  14. Dr. Carhart should be commended for stepping up to the plate and being there for women. We thank you.

  15. Dr. Carhart is a brave man. What he does is difficult, dangerous and unpleasant; but necessary. I admire him.

  16. Does a private clinic accept donations? I got a few hundred dollars to support Mr. Carhart and his courage and conviction. How wonderful for these rare glimpses of people who truly stand for something... makes this weary cynical New Yorker smile.

  17. What a brave and selfless man. Having once faced the horrifying possibility of a late-term abortion due to a grave prenatal diagnosis, I know too well what a valuable service Dr. Carhart is performing for women at a devastating juncture in their lives. He is risking his life and reputation to offer an option to parents faced with an unimaginable crisis. Any mom who has received a devastating prenatal diagnosis late in a much-wanted pregnancy knows the depths of darkness that Dr. Carhart is helping women navigate. He is to be commended for standing for a deeply unpopular position because he believes it is the right thing to do.

  18. This doctor is putting himself at high risk by performing late term abortions. I thank him. The taxpayers should thank him too. For all those who are anti-abortion, I want to see you adopting the crack babies, the ones with Down syndrome, and other congenital diseases. The unwanted kids end up adopted (best case) or in foster homes their whole lives. We all know how good foster homes can be. We have no right to force women who do not want a child to have one. Stop protesting against abortions, worry about your own life, and adopt a few kids with congenital diseases. And definitely, don't kill a doctor to prove a point not to kill or support capital punishment. Just be consistent.

  19. This guy is no hero. He's killing babies, pure and simple. And what are these "mothers" thinking, have such late abortions? Disgusting all around. Abortion is not birth control, people.

  20. The honorable Dr. Leroy Carhart, an Air Force vet, fought for women's right to choose. We cannot let the anti-choice terrorists like Troy Newman take away that right. We need to have the FBI investigate the entire anti-choice movement to see how many more anti-choice extremists are plotting terrorist attacks on women's health clinics.

  21. This reminds me of when I played arcade games and someone new kid would put a quarter into the fighting game cabinet.


  22. In full support. When we respect the sanctity of life we cannot just concentrate on the unborn. If abortions were abandoned then we must provide the social network to provide medical care and a structure to see that child through life; we do not have that. The mother's life, and many others that will be impacted by an individual, are as important as the unborn child.

  23. I would like to know how Mr. Newman can continue to deny that his actions had nothing to do with the murder, in cold blood, at a church, of Dr. Tiller. I will pray for Dr. Carhart. The reality is, however, that Dr. Carhart is not alone in this country in performing late-term abortions. Other doctors--those who care about their patients and their patients' circumstances and families--perform them as needed, under the radar. It is unfortunate that the likes of Mr. Newman need a scapegoat whose life they can destroy, literally. Mr. Newman and his ilk are delusional, irresponsible, intolerant, and dangerous.

  24. The image of 'pro-lifers' carrying signs of 'God sent the killer' at Dr. Tiller's funeral is chilling. How much must this 'God' have killed inside a 'pro-lifer' for him (almost all abortion doctor killers are men) to believe that a God of life would ever work by killing. Anyone interested in the psychology of abortion violence may find the article at the following link insightful: http://www.atypon-link.com...

  25. Sorry pro-abortionists, technology is on the side of the babies here. The better the technology, the more we can see that, yes, those are little babies with hands and feet. They're not just "globs of cells" as you want to portray them. Why does the Times keep treating these doctors as saints? They're killing little babies. It's just so bizarre to me.

  26. I am inspired by Dr. Carhart's commitment to women's reproductive rights. It gives me strength and inspiration to also support this cause despite the danger associated with it. Thank goodness there are people like him in this world.

  27. Thank you, Dr. Carhart, for following your heart. I'm touched by your courage and character.

  28. The "cause" ? Good god.

  29. Thanks to you, Dr. Carhart, for your bravery and dedication to protecting women's health and women's right to choose.

  30. It's too bad the folks who are spending all their time going after abortion doctors don't channel their efforts toward helping unwanted children who are often neglected and abused-- you know, the ones who are already here on this earth.

    Kudos to the doctor for his dedication and bravery.

  31. Thank you, Dr Carhart, for continuing this compassionate work.

  32. I hope Dr. Carhart knows that he has many supporters for his efforts to help women who are suffering from serious health issues or who face incredibly difficult emotional decisions. Some of these birth defects would doom babies to die quickly and in terrible pain if they were carried to term. Pro-lifers who think abortion is a simple "black and white" issue seem blinkered and cruel when compared to doctors like this.

  33. Dr. Carhart is an American hero. It is a crime that he lives in fear for providing a necessary medical service to so many women in need.

  34. Where does it end? The least among us deserve so much more. Please, please, please stop!

  35. Wow, how so very courageous of this Dr. take up this fight in an era where fanaticism is so rampant. I hope he will be around for many years to come

  36. Doctors are duty bound to save lives. Six, five and even four month old premature babies are saved on a daily basis. Ask yourself what kind of person partially births a living human being at eight, seven, six months of age and terminates them. No medical justification for this procedure exists. No matter how much "choice" you espouse, you know in your heart that this is morally and ethically wrong. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction to my post, take a few minutes to truly think about what is really happening in this "doctor's" clinic.


  38. Dr. Carhart, please keep up the good work. You and your family should not have to live in fear and I applaud your bravery to continue to provide safe, legal abortions to women who need them. Please know that there are people in this country who completely support what you are doing and that we will always vote to defend a woman's right to choose.

  39. As a person who is pro choice I fear for the safety of this doctor. I want the New York Times to cover this, but for his sake, I do not. Nobody is pro abortion. When you are in such as situation as to need this, you know why you need the law on your side and courageous physicians like this one to help you.

  40. Never thought anyone could object to a ban on late-term abortions, except where the mother would die. Then his predecessor was murdered, and reading about it, there were in-depth and heartbreaking discussions of the types of babies aborted late-term: babies without a brain, and other deformities that meant they would not survive much beyond birth, sometimes in great pain. Also, sometimes babies who were already dead.

    In reading the accounts my mind changed, and I don't think anyone who wasn't a cruel idealogue would deny women help in these very rare cases. If the baby is already dead, is it "murder?" It just seems cruel to make someone carry a corpse to term. Please don't flame me on the whole abortion issue....but in these very specific and limited situations it seems like there could be some consensus. Why doesn't the press clarify the details (without being too graphic) of the kinds of situations in which a responsible doctor would feel compelled to help? It seems like any doctor would be willing to help in such cases - even if they were against abortion in general -- if they weren't terrorized. If you're going to put his photo on the front page of the New York Times (and make him an easier target for an assassination), shouldn't you talk about WHY someone might step in to do this work?

  41. Dr. Carhart will now become the focus of anti-abortion terrorists. Yes, terrorists. For a movement that goes on and on about the sanctity of life, it's strangely eager to indulge in murder to frighten doctors and women away from medically justified abortions. Apparently their lives aren't worth jack.

    I hope his security is good; he's going to need it.

  42. After days of stories about people who are self-centered and don't care about others, it's refreshing to read of Dr. Carhardt's efforts to help women in the unenviable position of needing a late-term abortion. He is willing to change his entire life, risk the fate of Dr. Tiller and deal honorably with tne needs of his patients. He's a mensch and a hero.

  43. I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion and I am encouraged that this brave doctor has addressed late-term abortions involving infants that would a be born with severe birth defects. An example of some of these severe birth defects are infants that lack a brain stem or have a brain that is so malformed that the infant's ability to breathe without a respirator will never be possible. These babies are doomed to a life of pain and misery and come into this world with no hope of living a life without life support and often die shortly after birth having suffered painful, frightening medical intervention prior to their death.

    Another example of Dr. Tiller's work involved incest/rape victims who were 10- or 12-year old girls whose young, underdeveloped bodies could not physically withstand the rigors of a full-term pregnancy and delivery.

    Dr. Tiller often performed these procedures free of charge. His methods were humane and compassionate in that his late-term abortions were performed only after infants had received a lethal injection or had been removed from life-support and had expired prior to the abortion being performed.

    I cannot find it in my heart to believe that these infants would be better off being born to suffer rather than ending their potential life prematurely.

  44. If the $2000 dollar fee for an abortion is paid in cash to this doctor then abortions must be a much more profitable procedure than other GYN procedures which are typically insurance remunerated.

    But how can we know if this doctor is doing it for the money or to fill a genuine vacancy in the field of late-term abortions that unfilled would mean harm to the life of a pregnant mother?

  45. Thank God for Dr. Carhart.

  46. Incredibly moving. Like many others, I think that it's important for late-term abortions to be available to women who need them——for those with severely malformed fetuses that won't survive, and for those whose health and safety are at risk (of course those conditions often coincide). Dr. Carhart is very brave, and I feel a tremendous gratitude to him for his support of women's health and autonomy. It has certainly cost him a great deal. I'd love to know how to support him and his work.

  47. What a brave and committed man.
    Thank you.

  48. Dr.Carhart is a man of courage. I admire the doctor for risking his life to help women.

  49. Thank you doctor for doing good, necessary work.

  50. Thank you so much to Dr. Carhart and his clinicians. This myth that women who get late-term abortions are irresponsible hacks who suddenly decide, 25 weeks in, that they don't want a baby after all is so frustrating. As if they just decide one day — after months of bonding with the fetus, feeling the heart beat, and being flooded with hormones that create an attachment — that they don't feel like going through with it. Late-term abortions are usually a medical necessity, often performed because the baby has died in the uterus. It never ceases to infuriate me that the religious right is so dedicated to forcing women to carry around stillborn fetuses, risking infection and furthering their already immense psychological suffering. Thank God for people like Dr. Carhart who battle this incredible lack of compassion, education and understanding.

  51. Good for you. This takes bravery, courage, and a willingness to look beyond one's own concerns, since men can't ever be pregnant, to the conerns of other. For those of us who are agnostic, humanist, or merely believe that life begins at a different point than those who believe that life begins when egg and sperm meet (ah, a bit subjective, no...) this is a true hero. As always, rumpled, has seen a bit of life, and is willing to risk his life merely to cover for a fallen colleague.

  52. Good for him! Dr. Carhart is a hero. I wish we had more doctors like him, courageous enough to stand up to these bible-waving/women-hating hoodlums.

  53. Commendations to a very brave man. It is a sad commentary that, even with the promise of anonymity, I hesitate to explain why I support this cause.

  54. Thank-You Dr. Carhart.
    It is because of incredibly courageous people like him that women have options about their pregnancies. I hope that young medical graduates will train with him and further his and Dr. Tiller's important LEGAL work.

    Amazing though, that in 2009, there are still those home-grown terrorists who threaten and slaughter abortion providers. Of course with shills like Sarah Palin and other marginal fanatics promulgating their offensive view of "the real America", the issue was bound to heat up.

  55. Women should not have to travel across the country to address the immediate needs of their pregnancies. Many pregnancies do not go well. The only people who should be involved in these matters are the patient and the doctor.

    Anyone who supports a ban on intact D&X surgery supports violating the rights of patients to receive medical treatment and rights of doctors to treat their patients.

    A doctor is the only person qualified to decide what is medically needed and what is not--not Congress.

  56. What a relief to read that this doctor has picked up where the murder of Dr. Tiller left off. I hope so much that he, his family, staff and patients are safe, and that he is able to keep up this necessary hard work. Late term abortions are not some decision easily made. It is the result of serious consultation with doctor and family. It stems from the knowledge that you are carrying a dead fetus, that carrying this fetus may cause your untimely death (perhaps robbing your live children from their mother), that this child has irreparable defects that will cause it's short life to be most awfully painful (so much pain you wouldn't wish on an enemy, much less an infant). Think Trisomy 13.

    To those of you who inevitably want to lambast this generous doctor as a sinner, a murderer, etc., you could use an open mind for once. Imagine that your daughter will die if she maintains her pregnancy. Will your god prevent you from helping her? Have you no compassion? Are you going to pay the medical bills of all of those women who suffer the above-mentioned realities? Will you become their fairy godmothers?

    By the way, late term abortions aren't easily gotten. Women aren't all the sudden changing their minds at 27 weeks because they don't feel like having a baby right now. These abortions are hard on women and their families who, no doubt, have already imagined the life they'll have with their new one, have bought baby things, have had baby showers. A late term abortion is a horrifying situation to be in.

    To those of you who are ignorant of the plight of women who REQUIRE late term abortions, please enlighten yourselves by seeking out their stories.

  57. What I find particularly ironic is the picture of the 'protesters' at Dr. Tiller's funeral holding signs saying 'Abortion is bloody murder' but standing adjacent to those holding 'God sent the killer'. hmmm; it's murder to kill a fetus but not a adult?

    Also, where are these people when the topics of prenatal care, affordable childcare, child poverty, WIC, etc come up? They don't want abortions, but don't care about children after they're born.


  58. One other thought :

    "Operation Rescue even moved its headquarters to Wichita because of Dr. Tiller’s practice." Troy Newman, president of operation rescue, should be charged in the murder of Dr. Tiller.

  59. There are over a million miscarriages annually in the US. The causes vary widely and include the health and fragility of the mother; trauma, genetic conflicts, a nonviable or deformed fetus-- in short, the very reasons that doctors perform late term abortions. Surely if Nature, or God acting through Nature, can terminate the proto-life called a fetus, it is moral for doctors to imitate and assist nature. I hope this merciful physician offering help to the desperate may find security and blessings in his service to humanity.

  60. There are many layers to the abortion debate. But no one can logically dispute that having effective and readily available sex education and birth control in this country would greatly reduce human misery. Those zealots who labored to reduce contraception/sex education here and abroad (especially during the disastrous tenure of George II) have done great and lasting harm. In their misguided efforts to impose their own viewpoints upon others, they have not preserved the nobility of life but significantly reduced it.

  61. This is beyond the pale. I support contraception (condoms, etc.). Abortion is harder. I don't "support" abortion, but I'm reluctant to support anyone who wants to take away a woman's right to choose. (Yes, it's true that if men could get pregnant there would be a clinic on every corner). But abortions this far into the pregnancy? No. They're immoral and should be banned except in the most extreme cases (rape, incest, and severe retardation). Doctors like Carhart make moderates like me want to take another look at our reluctant acceptance of choice in the first place. He's clearly an extremist and he's actually hurting the pro-choice cause.

  62. Thank you Dr Carhart. We are incredibly lucky to have brave and principled physicians like you in the world.

  63. "...the earliest point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, a notion known as viability..."

    The "notion" is more accurately termed a human being; and even a devastatingly handicapped one, or one whose mother faces imminent danger from a continued pregnancy, can be granted the dignity of premature delivery and supportive care like any other child. Medically, if you can abort in the third trimester, you can also deliver. (You do, in fact, deliver; you just deliver a baby that has been poisoned or dismembered first.) This man may delude himself or rationalize to himself that he is a hero to women, and some may see him as such for his inarguable boldness, but judged simply by what he does, he is a monster, and a psychopathic zealot as conscienceless in his "convictions" as his most deranged opponents. Inarguable: He kills defenseless human beings capable of life outside the womb. (It is telling that some of his own staff, schooled in constant fetal destruction, have quit rather than assist at these gruesome procedures.) No late pregnancy "hard case," however tragic, justifies the violent homicide of a living human being.

  64. A compassionate and courageous man. Thank you.

  65. Dr. Carhart is a true hero, a man willing to take great personal risks to provide needed medical access to people in complicated circumstances. This is the definition of compassion and care that clinicians should aspire towards.

    My hope is that the police take threats to his safety seriously and that those who wish to attack him or other providers are stopped and prosecuted. The fanatics at Operation Rescue and organizations of similar ilk promote and abet domestic terrorism through their actions. Their rabid assault on individual rights is appalling and they need to be held criminally and civilly liable for their actions.

    I firmly believe that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. Safe in that it is provided as part of our healthcare system by well trained doctors practicing without fear. Legal in the protection of the core right, but also in the availability of the service and the protection of the providers. Rare by making sure our youth receive comprehensive sex education and access to family planning services as part of routine health care. Adults also need access to comprehensive family planning services. As a pro-choice person I know that we can never capitulate to the terrorists and fundamentalists who want to strip us of our private decisions and hypocritically limit individual freedom.

  66. Thank you Dr Carhart. We support you!


  67. Would operation Rescue and other similar organizations please tell us how many women and children they support with cash and other donations even 2 years after the babies they save are born. The mothers and children need support for many years after the births. Or are they really just cruel, opinionated, unthinking and uncaring, and just abandon the mother and her newborn child to fend for themselves. If THEY who value life so much won't open their wallets and support these women and children, who is supposed to? Perhaps it's the public taxpayers, many of whom are pro-choice? Do anti-choice groups really believe that tax dollars should be spent to support poor children and their mothers that they have imposed parenthood on, and yet also believe that tax dollars should not be spent to prevent the births of children and the consequent hardships caused. They must rally want to punish women.

  68. god bless a good decent person who is willing to sacrifice their life for their faith in human goodness, mercy and love. someone like this restores my faith in humanity. god save us all from those who set themselves up as judge jury and executioner.

  69. It is unimaginable that anyone would have a late-term abortion for a
    trivial reason, or that a physician such as Dr. Carhart would perform one. It would be helpful, though, in understanding this painful decision, if examples of the reasons WHY, ie. personal accounts, individual cases, stories that explain, while protecting anonymity,
    how certain pregnant women are faced with this horrible, tragic reality.

  70. No one is 'pro' abortion, just as no one is 'pro' having to get a root canal at a dentist.

    This doctor is a hero in my mind.

    Unfortunately, the anti-abortion types, who apparently have no lives of their own and thus have to live vicariously by hating others who do, can't seem to recall Christ's most important saying: 'let he among you without sin cast the first stone...', he who drank with whores and poor people.

    The further I get away from my Christian upbringing the more amazed I am at how fundamentally evil so much modernChristian thinking really is....essentially pretty close to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Agree with, or else......

  71. I am proud of this doctor and the staff at his clinic for standing up for women and for medical privacy. A woman's pregnancy is in her body and her decision to carry it to term or to terminate it belongs to nobody else. I wish the proteesters would leave these poor women alone and instead focus their energy on things that live outside of another person's body. I find it so ridiculous that people even think it is appropriate to tell a woman what to do with what is inside her body. Regardless of viability, a woman has the right to determine whether she has a child. It's her business while it is in her body, and society's business when it is born and in society. Regardless of whether one likes abortion, one should allow others to make their own decisions on the matter.

  72. A brave and courageous man. My deepest concern for his safety.

  73. Someday, most of us will be able to look back an article like this one, see it for what it is, and feel appropriately sick to our stomachs. We will be amazed at how it was acceptable to write about killing unborn children with a barely-concealed sense of admiration. We will look back on this writer's rhetorical technique--flaunting ever-higher numbers of gestation, 22, 23, 24, 27 weeks--and feel a cold chill when we realize what those numbers actually stood for. Like Lincoln at his Second Inaugural, we will feel crushed to behold the weight of our great national sin, and we will pity those who not only acquiesced, not only supported, but actually spent their time, energy, and personal talents to support a culture of monstrous disregard for human life, out of a misguided idea of heroism.

    Someday we will be able to see this for what it is. Not yet. But someday.

  74. e had family friends for whom this procedure was the least worst option. Their fetus was developing with cycloppism and the chances of it being born alive were very slim, and if it was born it would have died within hours or days. Carrying the pregnacny to the end of the term put the mom in grave danger. Married couple who wanted kids.

    Anyway - the government, or your church, or your moral judgment have no place in other people's medical decisions. That couple has two healthy fine kids since then. If conservatives had their way they would be in prison or the wife would have died.

  75. It might be very helpful to describe the circumstances motivating women to seek late-term abortions. Tales of horrifying fetal deformities and abnormalities might educate those who tend to believe that women who seek these procedures do so for relatively trivial reasons. In this context, everyone can and should discuss the multitude of issues relating to viability and the health of the mother.

    People can categorically oppose these procedures, or abortion in general, on religious grounds, but that does not mean that such procedures should be made illegal for those who do not share such religious beliefs.

    The decision to seek a late-term abortion should be made by a pregnant woman in consultation with her physician. It should not be legislated against.

    "In December 1996, the American Medical Association (AMA) was asked at its interim annual meeting to consider two resolutions regarding late-term abortion... As an alternative, the Reference Committee recommended that the AMA reaffirm its prochoice policy and direct the Board of Trustees, in consultation with medical specialty groups such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, to undertake a study of which late-term abortion techniques conform to the 'standards of good medical practice' and to develop clinical practice guidelines for late-term pregnancy terminations. The Reference Committee report indicated that the substitute resolution was based on the premise of 'the importance of the patient-physician relationship, and [stressed] the belief that governmental interference into the practice of medicine is inappropriate and ultimately harmful to the patient.'

    The House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor of the substitute resolution.."

    Let the women who seek the services of Dr. LeRoy H. Carhart tell their stories, if they so choose. Afterwards, let us decide whether their
    narratives are more or less compelling than those offered by Operation Rescue and other opponents of Dr. Carhart.

  76. If his colleague was slain (yes I just ussed a NY Post favorite word) for performing late term abortions then this guy knows the dangers in it. There are plenty of nut jobs out there particularly when it comes to abortion; abortion-politics-religion mix about as well as Tanqueray and sleeping pills. If and when he gets shot, do we really have to feign shock?

  77. Dr Carhart is a hero. Doctors who allow themselves to be intimidated into refusing health care set us all up for a fascist state.

  78. Kudos to Carhart. Admirably unflinching and dedicated in the face of domestic terrorism

  79. thank god.

  80. Thank you for your courage, Dr. Carhart. Where are all these "supporters of life," when in Africa and other areas of the world, thousands of children are dying daily of hunger and malnutrition? It seems to me that their only concern is a successful birth, but ignore the quality of life subsequent to that birth. Protesters always seem to show pictures of aborted fetuses during their protests outside of clinics -- - Why not hold up pictures the pictures of starving children in Africa instead? Is sanctity of life only in the US?

  81. #11 - it's actually extremely heroic because a doctor that performs brain surgery doesn't have to constantly fear for his life and the safety of his family.

    People who are anti-abortion should be standing up for their convictions by adopting unwanted children with severe health problems. Because if there were no abortions, there would be a great demand for people willing to do this.

  82. How many physically or mentally challenged children have Mr. Newman and his "Operation Rescue" followers adopted? How many crack babies, teen-agers who have been shuffled from one foster home to another - how many single mothers have they helped by baby-sitting, donating time and/or money for them to survive with their children, how many of them have offered transportation to doctor's appointments, for grocery shopping or other trips?

    Until they start putting their actions and money where their mouths are, I have no use for these "Operation Rescue" people. There are many medical reasons for late-term abortions and I salute Dr. Carhart for his work in helping women.

  83. Dr. Tiller was killed by an unstable person with access to guns who was encourageded by vicious hate groups, who wrapped themselves in fake religious fervor.

    The Fort Hood victims were killed by an unstable person with access to guns who was encouraged by vicious hate groups, who wrapped themselves in religious fervor.

    Those who are calling the Fort Hood attack terrorism are the ones who were so insulted and indignant when Dr. Tiller's murder was called terrorism.

    I fear for Dr. Carhart and greatly respect his sacrifice. He is putting his life (and the lives of his family) in the crosshairs of domestic terrorists, for the goal of giving women health care at truly tragic points in their lives.

  84. Brave and selfless? He is pulling in $16000 a day!

  85. What a courageous individual. I am so grateful that there are still people out there who TRUST WOMEN to make their own choices about their bodies. No one could make a decision like this callously. If only we could all respect what an incredibly difficult and upsetting decision this must be and trust that these women are doing what they need to do to protect their OWN life.

  86. Yes George, (#2) abortion runs contrary to YOUR biology, you will never be in a position to have to make a choice to deliver a child alive or dead. That this brave medical practitioner has to operate as if he lives in a Taliban State reflects the regressive and un-American reality of those who tacitly or overtly make him fear for his life. Those people need to live in a country that has laws that support their views. If you don't want an abortion, don't have one; if you don't want any abortion for anyone then book your flight out.

  87. Before people go praising this man, they should look a little deeper. In an American Medical News article written by Giannelli, Carhart was interviewed years before the public debate about partial birth abortion. He admitted performing this type of abortion on a woman who was expecting a baby with a cleft palate. That is hardly life threatening for the mother or baby and can be repaired with reconstructive surgery.

    Why do the media not question the profit motive with these abortionists ? Tiller was not even an obstetrician, and yet he had quite a lucrative practice performing abortions. How many family practice doctors have his high salary? He was so financially successful that he was able to make large contributions to legislators who helped support his abortion agenda.

    One also wonders about informed consent. How many women are informed of the gentler option of supporting the short life of their terminally ill babies? Perinatal hospice can provide the support so that mothers and families can meet, caress, hold, and rock their precious babies before they die a natural, painfree death. It is tremendously sad to lose a baby with a fatal defect and families will grieve this loss in either case. Perinatal hospice provides assistance so that families are not left with the guilt of having further shortened their babies' lives through the crude and pain inducing methods of partial birth abortion.

  88. Thank you, thank you thank you. Liz Coursen, Sarasota, Florida

  89. The world needs more people like Dr. Carhart!! May God watch over him and keep him safe!!

  90. I admire the bravery of Dr.Carhart! He is risking everything to help desperate women and is fully aware that he may fall victim to the lunatic fringe who believe that killing a fetus is never justified but killing a physician is. And they have the audacity to say that they do it in the name of God. What a sad state of events when a wedding must be held on a military base to guard against disruption by anti-abortion loonies.Keep up this important work, Dr. Carhart!

  91. I only wish there were more physicians who had Dr. Carhart's courage and commitment.

  92. ..And yet, all you anti-abortionists, you would rather kill a doctor to prove your point. So much for the sanacity of life. Anti-abortionists = hypocrites.

  93. The people and organizations that should be investigated are the anti-abotion fantics who hold our Constitutional rights in disdain and contempt, use terrorist and intinmidation as methods agsinst society and individuals porotected by the laws of our society, and who cold-bloodedly murder medical doctors perfoming legal and medically justified procedures. America is a place that allows for dissent and freedom of speech but, that does NOT include the barbaric and savage acts of anti-abotion fantics - THEY are the criminals here, should be treated like the rabid animals they insist on being, and put down.

  94. Thank you, Dr. Carhart!

  95. The thing that irks me about the "pro-lifers" is that they are sooooo concerned about the fetus but I never hear any of them offering to take care of the unwanted babies that are born in this country. All the protesters at the abortion clinics should put their money where the mouth is. Why don't they stop every woman who tries to enter a clinic and offer her pre-natal care and offer to take the child off their hands when it is born? Because they're hypocrites...that's why.

  96. Thank you, Dr. Carhart, for standing up for my rights and those of my sisters, my nieces and all the women of our country. You are a brave and moral man.

  97. Doctors such as Leroy Carhart should not have to risk their lives to provide needed health care to women. That is something you would expect in a country controlled by religious fanatics, not here in the U.S. We must fight the religious terrorists here in our own country just as we are fighting them abroad. Dr. Carhart's courageousness and devotion to helping others are an inspiration to us all in our fight against terrorists.

  98. I cannot fathom how anyone opposed to abortion thinks that a woman delivering a child who is so deformed that they will die is somehow a decent thing to wish on another real life human being - the mother. Does she not count or is only about the precious babies? Those same precious babies who live for 30 minutes? Does the pain of that birth, suffered physically and emotionally by the mother, somehow matter less than the doomed child inside of her? I bore witness to a friend carry and deliver a stillborn child and that pain is devastating and real. It's not the fantastical miracle of birth anti-choicers want to believe that it is. NO ONE used late term abortion as birth control, you idiot.

    Abortion is LEGAL. And it should remain safe. And I will keep donating to PP and every other organization that helps women have a medical procedure if that's what it takes to save her life or prevent her from having to suffer real life pains to deliver a child that will not survive anyway.

    Don't believe in abortion? Don't have one.

  99. What a great burden it must be. Thank you, Dr. Carhart. As a firm pro-choice supporter, I still wince at the thought of this procedure, and completely agree with Jackie from R.I.—believe it would help the cause to have a fuller understanding of the actual cases encountered.

  100. @ #25, being able to see "little babies with hands and feet" is such a tired tactic to try to elicit an emotional response. Just give it up, a fetus is a fetus. A fetus is not a baby. People don't have late term abortions just for fun, they do so because of a wide variety of health issues to both mother and fetus.

    To the abortion foes who post here I challenge you to come up with a philosophy based on more then I think it's wrong because that is what I think, and by the way god told me so. If you are against abortion then don't have one. It's simple. Like any legal activity you are free to abstain in your personal life.

    Cutting off access to abortion services won't end abortion, but it will end safe access. Perhaps anti-choice zealots know this and just don't care. Perhaps they are deluding themselves. Either way, the consequences of no legal abortion or limited access will be a disaster.

    I'll challenge all the anti-choice men out there to go get a vasectomy. Schedule an appointment this week and you can know with certainty that you'll not cause any pregnancy that might be complicated, messy or require hard choices. It's easy to see the world in black and white until you have to have ambiguity, now is your chance to cut some of that ambiguity away.

  101. Here's a true believer. Good for him. When the radical fundamentalists look in the mirror they will meet Dr. Carhart. How about we start looking at the tax exempt status of these political groups posing as religions? They want to disrupt the ultimate personal decision, let them pay their taxes!

  102. Consider this:

    Dr. Carhart gives help to all women and offers no judgement.
    Mr. Newman gives judgement to all women and offers no help.

    Wouldn't it be nice if all virtue were so obvious?

  103. On behalf of those women whose lives, health and families will be helped by this courageous man I say thank you Dr. Carhart...

  104. If you speak to people in the "right to life" movement; you realize that banning abortion is only their FIRST goal.
    If they ever succed in doing so; their next target will be contraception.
    IMHO there is NO difference between the Taliban & the RTL movement.
    Both seek to impose their views on their broader societes.

  105. No one is pro abortion. Most of us would find any kind of an abortion a difficult decision to make. But we as a society do not yet support our women and our children. It's our kids and their kids, not our children. We still ostracize unmarried women who find themselves pregnant. We have no idea how women are enslaved all over the world because of pregnancy. Many women took advantage of the abortion choice in the 70s as they navigated through new sexual 'freedom' and birth control. Now that they perhaps have a marriage and children and a way to support them,they want to deny this choice to young women. The choice should always be made by the woman and her doctor. Young women are more educated about sex, pregnancy, and the consequences than my generation was. Most of them make good decisions and few unwanted pregnancies occur. But they are maturing women and still make mistakes. We offer very little help to them. But until we embrace all our children and the stigma of unwedded pregnancy is erased and we support our single moms and their children because they are worthy as living human beings, we will have a need to end pregnancies humanely. I know I would support my daughter in any decision she were to make about any pregnancy. It would be her choice and she would have the responsibility to raise this child with help. But I can do this from the wisdom that comes with being older and having gone through raising children. I also know what a big responsibility, a life time responsibility raising a child is.
    My heart goes out to the small percentage of people who have to make a late term abortion decision. It is legal in this country to offer them this choice. but what could be more cruel than telling a conscious, fully independent outside the womb human being that the government will deny them this choice and they are to die. Or that they will have to watch an innocent to suffer unnecessarily.
    Hopefully someday, Dr.Carhart's of this world will be doing less of these procedures because of advances in medicine and testing and we will have evolved to a society that embraces its children and mothers.

  106. Bravo, Dr. Carhart. Let's get the federal government security forces in, to protect the good doctor, against these so-called, right-to-lifers. You know, the ones that shoot down, unarmed doctors !! Stinking cowards.

  107. Until the people who foment the violence against these brave doctors are held responsible for their actions, the violence will continue. Dr Tillers killer had accomplices who are still allowed to prey on other while keeping a "safe" distance away. Condemning the murders, threats and assaults after the fact is hypocritical. No one goes into a late term abortion without good reason. No doctor would put his life and the lives of his family on the line without good reason. These are tragedies, not crimes. I commend this doctor for his dedication to women's healthcare.

  108. Heroic? 2K+. Some staff resign. This isn't so much heroic as a reflection on how our society and mothers treat "special" kids and those with special needs.

  109. I wish this article had included some of the devastating reasons that women seek late-term abortions, so that readers like #12 above could have a perspective on why this service is medically necessary.

  110. Profile in courage. Thank you.

  111. I'm pro-choice, but "abortions after the 27th week may take four days" turns my stomach. If the life of the mother is in danger, surely you know that before the 27th week and a 4-day long procedure.

  112. We go about out lives sort of thinking we might do something right with them. Then there is this guy, who makes us all look like a bunch of lumps on a log. What a mensch!!

  113. The entire concept of viability is a dead issue. The 1973 Supreme Court decision was made before all the advances that have occurred in neonatal technology and fertility science. With in vitro fertilization, it has become obvious that viability exists outside of the womb from the moment of conception. People talk about partial birth abortions as being necessary to ensure the health of the mother or because of sever abnormalities with the baby, but the reality is that at least 80% of the time there is nothing wrong with the mother or the baby when this procedure is performed. It is hard to defend this procedure that the vast majority of Americans believe should be outlawed.

  114. I hope he has protection from his foes. Surely the constitution and laws of this country provide a slim safe haven for this valuable health service to those that must have it.

  115. This man doesn't have to worry about retirement. He either makes a fortune or he will die before age 65.

  116. My cynical side asks why the Times would choose to call further attention to Dr. Carhart considering the fate of Dr. Tiller. Why not let the man go about his work quietly, and not arouse the ire of the unhinged? Unless the Times is willing to contribute towards the protection of Dr. Carhart, it shouldn't be calling attention to his much-needed services, knowing the potential consequences.

  117. Thank you Dr.Carhart. I really don't know what else to say besides thank you for continuing this very important and very difficult work. I wish you all the best.

  118. I listened to a presentation by the director of an orphanage today. He talked about the children under his roof, and told us that they were children who had been severely abused and beaten, born addicted to drugs, or had lived on the street, scrounging for food for their addict parents. He said that most of the children had severe emotional problems, and his orphanage was a last stop for those who had been through the social welfare system. After reading this piece about abortion, I can't help but feel angry and ashamed at pro-life activists for the energy and money and time that they put into trying to roll back women's reproductive rights. Don't they know there are actually so many living, breathing, children in the US who could use the activists' energy, money and time to make them feel loved, special, and cared-for? I am beginning to think that many pro-lifers are simply married to a cause. Pro-lifers just have to scream about what they think God wants, act righteous about their views, send a check to their favorite conservative politician, and go to sleep at night thinking they have done something good. They don't actually have to work with the multitudes of real, living children that could use their love and help.

  119. Until you are faced with this situation, you cannot pass judgement. I have not had to go through this procedure, but had a friend I helped through it. The heartbreaking decision is something you never want to face in your life - ever. Shame on those who cannot see anything but their own 'moral' standards, yet live in a 'bubble' and cannot see compassion for others. This is not a decision that is taken lightly, those who choose this route are not 'murderers' or 'immoral' or anything else that the 'righteous chosen' accuse. People make responsible decisions that no one else is privvy to. I applaud these doctors, who still hold moral life standards and choose to help others who have no way out. Until we have compassion for other people's situations and responsible decisions, we should not pass judgement. Leave it to your own higher power. Thank you - to the courageous doctors, who help women who otherwise have no voice. I am eternally grateful to live in a world where people like you exist.

  120. Dr. Carhart, and doctors like him are heroes! They help women have late term-abortions, which were all, at some point wanted pregnancies that had gone horribly wrong. Abortion providers are caring, wonderful people who deserve our support while they fight against the terrorists who try to harass and intimidate women.

    I wish that the media would stop referring to accessing abortion a "debate." Organizations like "Operation Rescue" are fundamentalist, terrorist organizations who use the guise of free speech to intimidate women and breed murderers like the man who killed Dr. Tiller. Women who need late term abortions are undergoing a legal, medical, essential procedure. Unless those who refer to it as a "debate" consider a woman's life, health (physical and mental), and future fertility debatable.

  121. Thank you from women everywhere. I pray you are always safe.

  122. "a particular method of abortion referred to by critics as 'partial-birth abortion.'"

    Just to be clear, it's referred to by that phrase because it involves inducing labor, bringing the fetus out of the vagina feet first until only the head is still inside, then puncturing the skull with scissors and vacuuming out the brains. So it makes quite a bit of sense to call it by that name.

    I also question Ms. Davey's tendency here to talk about the viability of the fetus at different weeks' gestation as if it were a purely political question: "some believe," "some say," etc. This is an empirical question, and there is evidence. Granted, there's no bright line, before which is certain death and after which is certain survival, but all viability means is the possibility (not the actuality or probability) of survival after birth. So it's inappropriate to act as if it's a matter of differing worldviews as to when fetuses are, in general, viable.

  123. My mother had an abortion in New York in 1951. My parents had no money, and with my brother and me to take care of (I had medical problems also), they felt it was the best thing for the family.

    Before he started the procedure, the doctor (who had lost his license to practice) said to my mom, "I have to tell you that this is going to hurt, but you mustn't make a sound." You could imagine how scared she must have been, and how painful it was, with no anaesthesia.

    That is why I feel very strongly that abortion must remain legal and safe.

    But my mother had the procedure as soon as she knew she was pregnant. She was nowhere near 24 weeks. Dr. Carhart is performing some abortions PAST 24 weeks. There is no excuse to wait that long when it is possible to test for pregnancy so much earlier. More importantly, take a look at a picture of a 24-week fetus. This is a BABY. Abortion so late in a pregnancy shows depraved indifference to human life. It is MURDER.

  124. I have tremendous respect and admiration for you, Dr. Carhart.

    I was raised to understand the importance of reproductive freedom, but the highly polarizing politics around late-term abortions often paint the women who seek them as heartless, soulless, even as poor planners and promiscuous procrastinators who just waited around until it was almost too late. This strategy of spinning the issue has been successful in framing banning late-term procedures / shunning the providers seem like a matter of national morality standing up to the extreme liberties of a selfish few women, who really shouldn't count as people. This anti- point of view has apparently been accepted in the media as equally if not more valid than the views of those who would preserve access to late-term abortions, which has made it even more difficult to sift through all the spin and find out what is actually happening.

    But after Dr. Tiller's assassination, my eyes were opened as scores of testimonies surfaced from women who had been his patients for procedures after 22 weeks - and who in some cases were even bravely willing to identify themselves by name - and their words cut through the political grandstanding and shallow media commentary. It was finally clear to me that when each of these women traveled (often across the country) to Dr. Tiller, one of just a few who performed late-term abortions, she wasn't the careless, immoral woman so often implied by anti-choice rhetoric; very often, she was a mother-to-be who had just learned her baby would die soon after birth, or was perhaps already dead. Who would want to force her to carry that fetus to term? What husband would want her to go through that ordeal? Knowing for the last few months that she was bearing their shattered hopes and dreams? And there are additional situations where a late-term health complication or diagnosis presents a painful decision where the mother - as she already anticipates being - must choose to what extent she is willing to risk her life in order to deliver her baby. Why does the "right" want to get into legislating medicine that should be a decision between doctor and patient, and perhaps family as appropriate? I thought that was the whole point of their opposition to any health care reform!

    FYI: Late-term (24 weeks+) abortions are quite rare: an estimate from 1997 counted just over 1000 and estimated that as less than one-tenth of one percent of all U.S. abortions. Women aren't turning this procedure as a convenience. They are turning to it when their hearts are broken and their dreams have been shattered, and we need to ensure that caring, dedicated providers like Dr. Carhart, and the late Dr. Tiller, continue to receive the necessary medical training and the protection to be able to provide this service to the tiny fraction of a percentage of women with nowhere else to turn.

    I doubt that these heartbreaking scenarios represent 100% of late-term abortions, but I have yet to hear of any callously, frivolously-decided exception to those examples. The women who've spoken out after Dr. Tiller's death represent the very reason we must honor the courageous, caring providers who are trained and willing to provide the services they women need.

    And we must see to it that this training and commitment does not disappear from future generations of physicians; that's why the day after Dr. Tiller's murder, I donated to Medical Students for Choice.

    Dr. Tiller believed that the movement to ban abortion was profoundly misogynist; that the subtext was, at essence, that women should be punished for sexual activity by being forced to bear children. When one reads the heartbreaking testimonials from his former patients, and their tearful gratitude for the compassionate care he offered them through the hardship of losing their babies, it's hard to disagree with his assessment of those who demonized and ultimately murdered him.

  125. I don't remember who said it but the phrase, "Ignorance is the most violent element in society," comes to mind here. There are cases where late term abortions are a necessary evil in life. Those who don't believe in it are just that - ignorant and too often violent. Thank god this clinic continues its work. Thanks to all the workers there who will not be intimidated out of it. Peace out.