By Susan Ciancio
Kindness. Courtesy. Justice. Respect. Love.
They are words that could have been spoken by Christ. He told us that we must love God with our whole selves and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Love is not just a feeling; it’s an action. If you love both God and your neighbor, then kindness, courtesy, respect, justice, and more naturally follow. You will do no harm.
Yet these words above were not words spoken by Christ. They did not come from the Gospels. They are found on the site of an abortion clinic run by a man who is as far from Christlike as Satan himself.
That man is LeRoy Carhart.
Carhart has spent more than 30 years killing preborn babies. And though he is 79 years old, he continues to travel between his abortion clinic in Nebraska and his clinic in Maryland killing babies—many beyond the age of viability. Carhart is one of only a handful of abortion doctors in the US who will perform late-term abortions.
How LeRoy Carhart Got Started in the Abortion Industry
Before he became an abortionist, Carhart served 21 years in the Air Force, initially training as a pilot. While still in the Air Force, he earned his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia. He later worked as a military surgeon in Omaha, Nebraska. Carhart retired as a lieutenant colonel.
In 1985, after he left the Air Force, Carhart opened an emergency walk-in clinic in Omaha. He and his family settled into a 60-acre farm outside of town.
Two years later, a nurse asked him to spend a day at the abortion clinic where she worked. This was a pivotal point in his life, and one that would change the course of it. He would later recount how the women he spoke with on that fateful day reminded him of patients he had seen many years prior, when he was still a medical student. Many of those patients had gotten botched abortions and suffered terribly from them.
Carhart felt pulled to begin performing abortions, so he immediately sought training at an abortion clinic in Philadelphia. He reportedly performed over 500 in just a four-month period.
After this training, he returned to Omaha and began performing abortions at a friend’s clinic. In 1991, he began aborting children at his own clinic.
Meanwhile, Carhart associated with other abortion doctors. One of them was the infamous late-term abortion doctor George Tiller. A few years prior to beginning abortions at his own clinic, Carhart had met Tiller at a National Abortion Federation meeting. They struck up a close friendship that would last until Tiller died in 2009.
In 1998, Carhart began committing late-term abortions at Tiller’s clinic. By 2004, he was spending every third week there.
Carhart’s “Late-Term” Abortion Clinics
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching the sanctity of life, the definition of late-term can vary. The Centers for Disease Control’s abortion surveillance system, however, maintains that a late-term abortion happens after 21 weeks of gestation.
Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, states:
Most late-term abortions are done for the same social reasons that earlier abortions are done. Late-term abortions are much more dangerous for the mother than giving birth. There is a higher risk of death from the abortion procedure itself, as well as higher risk of perforating the womb, massive bleeding, and damage to the womb. Late-term abortions are only safe for the abortionist, not for the mother, or her child.
Today, Carhart has two clinics—one in Nebraska and one in Maryland. In Nebraska, the law does not allow abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization, or 22 weeks after the mother’s last menstrual period. But there are exceptions. If it can be proven that the mother’s health or life is at risk or if there is a fetal abnormality, a doctor can perform the abortion. Maryland, however, allows abortions in the second and third trimester without restrictions. So Carhart travels back and forth between clinics performing abortions.
According to Carhart’s site, which contains many typos, grammar issues, and misspellings: “We are one of the nations [sic] only clinics who provide abortion care throughout pregnancy, meaning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester abortion care. We actively recognize the need for the care we provide and are proud to serve our patients with comprehensive abortion care.”
Notice the use of the word care. It is stated four times in two sentences. They seem to want to convince mothers that the killing of their babies isn’t horrific.
Under the topic of fetal anomaly abortions, the site says: “Many patients request a remembrance of their baby to take home with them.” Baby. LeRoy Carhart admits he is killing a baby; he just doesn’t care. His downloadable brochure for his Bethesda, Maryland, clinic—which is also replete with typos and is seemingly meant for women who have found that their baby has a fetal abnormality—contains a section that discusses the services his office offers after killing the baby. These include “viewing your baby after the delivery, holding your baby after the delivery, photographs of your baby, cremation services referral, footprints,” and more.
Here again in the brochure, we see those words that should evoke comfort. “Kindness. Courtesy. Justice. Love. Respect.” Yet right under them is a quote from George Tiller. This is followed by a line that reads “specializing in second and third trimester abortion care.” Note the word “care” again. Abortion is not care.
These deceptive words mask the fact that, in each and every abortion, a baby is killed.
Awards and Accolades
Though it’s hard to imagine someone receiving awards for taking thousands of lives, LeRoy Carhart has “earned” 18. These include the California Women’s Law Center Pursuit of Justice Award (2007), the NCAP David Gunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Abortion Care Network (2009), the NARAL 2009 Hero Award, and more.
In addition to these awards, Carhart brags that he has trained doctors to perform abortions. He states: “I think the only thing I can do….is just train as many doctors as I can to go out on their own and provide abortions and get enough people providing them….That makes [the anti-abortion activist’s] job 10 times harder because there are now 10 times more of us.”
Carhart has certainly done his part to make an impact in the field of abortion. That includes attempts to change the law.
LeRoy Carhart and the Supreme Court
In 1997, Carhart filed a temporary restraining order to block a new law regarding partial-birth abortions. He felt the law was unconstitutional. The District Court agreed with him, so the state appealed, but lost. The state then appealed to the Supreme Court, only to lose again in 2000.
Five years later, in 2005, LeRoy Carhart challenged the federal partial-birth abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart—a case that also went all the way to the Supreme Court. This time Carhart lost. According to HLI’s Adolfo J. Castañeda, “On April 23, 2007, the Supreme Court upheld Congress’s ban of the partial-birth abortion method.”
Three years later, in 2010, Nebraska’s governor signed into law two abortion restrictions. One banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the other requires doctors to screen their patients for “risk factors” before performing the abortion. In response, Carhart wrote:
These laws will make it harder for patients to get an abortion when they really need them, when they are under the most desperate of circumstances and even when they are clearly medically, morally and religiously justified. This latest anti-woman and anti-health legislation merely strengthens my commitment to fight for women’s reproductive health and rights.”
And fight for them, he does.
In 2009, a mentally ill man shot and killed George Tiller outside his church one Sunday morning. Desperate to keep Tiller’s memory alive, LeRoy Carhart began offering late-term abortions in his own practice. This prompted a slew of pro-life advocates to protest outside.
The protesters in Maryland wanted to make a huge change. In 2017, pro-life donors were able to raise enough funds to make an offer to Carhart’s landlord to purchase the building. The landlord accepted the offer. He closed the clinic and sold the space to the Maryland Coalition for Life.
Carhart scrambled to find a new place so he could continue killing babies in Maryland. He soon found a building in Bethesda.
That same year, Rachel Cohen, writing for The Intercept, conducted an interview with Carhart at this new location. She writes admirably: “Carhart is undeniably committed to his work. In addition to the four days he spends working in Maryland, the physician works out of his Nebraska clinic two or three days per week, meaning he spends 26 out of every 28 days on the job.”
Carhart told Cohen: “I just know it needs to be done, and it doesn’t bother me.”
“I Think it is a Baby.”
In 2019, Carhart was interviewed by Hilary Andersson for a BBC documentary on abortion called America’s Abortion War. He speaks candidly about his lack of remorse for killing babies. “The baby has no input in this as far as I’m concerned,” he says. Andersson seems shocked that he actually calls the baby a “baby” and presses him on this. He responds: “I think that it is a baby.”
When asked if he has no problem killing a baby, Carhart responds: “Absolutely not. I have no problem if it’s in the mother’s uterus.”
Carhart then takes Andersson to one of the operating rooms and begins showing her abortion tools. He holds up a pair of forceps and says: “These are the forceps that grabs the part of the fetus and to crush it and bring it out.” She looks appalled, so he tries to justify this gruesome practice by saying: “This baby has been dead for 48 hours. It’s not like we’re crushing a living skull.”
At the end of the documentary, Andersson asks Carhart what he thinks when anti-abortionists call him a killer. He responds: “Their entire goal is to take away a woman’s right to determine her pregnancy level and therefore her ability to be employed, to become successful, to become a functioning part of society. They want the woman to stay home barefoot and pregnant.”
LeRoy Carhart may believe the lie that all pro-lifers want women to stay home “barefoot and pregnant,” but that is not reality. Furthermore, he wants people to believe that mothers can’t be functional members of society. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Pro-lifers care about women. And pro-lifers care about babies. They want every woman to understand that the baby she helped create is a human being. That baby is valuable. He is unique. Taking his life is a violent act of murder. And it is an act that many mothers later regret. Pro-lifers do not want to hold women back; they want to empower them to make the choice for life.
But not all mothers make the choice to carry their babies to term. While abortion always has dire consequences for the baby, it sometimes results in the death of the mother as well.
No Repercussions for the Death of Jennifer Morbelli
Jennifer Morbelli was a young wife and mother when she died in 2013 after seeking a late-term abortion at LeRoy Carhart’s Maryland clinic. Morbelli, who was 33 weeks pregnant, had recently learned that her baby had an abnormality. Not wanting their baby to live with this abnormality, she and her husband decided to abort her. They and other family members traveled from their home state of New York to Carhart’s clinic for the four-day abortion procedure.
Morbelli and her family arrived at the clinic on a Sunday. That day, she was given a shot to stop the baby’s heart. On Monday and Tuesday, the staff at the clinic began the process of dilating her cervix so her lifeless baby could be delivered. Morbelli returned each of those days looking sicker and weaker. On Wednesday, after nine long hours at the clinic, her dead baby girl was delivered. The next day, Morbelli began experiencing chest pains, so her family rushed her to the hospital. She died just a few hours later.
The hospital could not initially reach Carhart to garner any information on Morbelli. Eventually, he did speak to someone via phone, but by the time he arrived at the hospital, Morbelli was dead.
After an autopsy, the medical examiner in Maryland listed “amniotic fluid embolism following termination of pregnancy” and “disseminated intravascular coagulation” as the two causes of death. The latter occurs when blood clots form in the blood vessels, which often causes death. Morbelli’s death was listed as “natural,” so Carhart was never held legally responsible for his role in it.
Morbelli was buried with the daughter she went to the clinic to kill.
What can Pro-Lifers Learn from LeRoy Carhart?
Speaking about why he continues to perform abortions, Carhart says: “If we give in, they win, and that’s unacceptable.”
Is it all a game to him, with sides that win and lose? Human life is not a game. That is why we must educate, not only ourselves, but our children. We must keep men like Carhart in the forefront of our minds so that we know what we’re fighting for and who we are fighting against. Though we must focus on the positive and on lives saved, we must also be aware of the evil in our world. We can never turn a blind eye to the wicked. And we cannot allow it to permeate our society even more.
As Catholic pro-lifers, we must each take the responsibility to live our faith. We must evangelize when we can, teaching always about the sanctity of life. Men like LeRoy Carhart will always be around. But if we stand together, we can build a Culture of Life where people will know the true meaning of words like love, respect, kindness, courtesy, and justice.
Abortions are the antitheses of love, respect, kindness, courtesy, and justice. Abortions kill a baby. Every time.
This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at hli.org/resources/leroy-carhart.