The Circle Continues: Dr. Carhart Takes On Tiller’s Practice


Dr. Leroy Carhart, a physician who provides abortions for women in need and who for many years provided later term abortions in his home state of Nebraska, will temporarily take over Dr. Tiller’s medical practice in Kansas.
Dr. Carhart, still a practicing provider, is most well known for his involvement in two Supreme Court cases, Stenberg v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Carhart, which challenged and then upheld the ban on the politically termed "Partial Birth Abortion."

As no doubt readers of RH Reality Check know, Dr. Tiller was slain inside his church yesterday. Reports the Omaha World-Herald

After Sunday’s fatal shooting, Tiller’s chief nurse called Carhart. Carhart made arrangements to keep his Bellevue clinic open while he is gone. When contacted Sunday, he said he was en route to Wichita to run Tiller’s clinic for at least the next week.

Dr. Carhart calls the murderer of his beloved colleague a "terrorist" saying his friend’s death is  "a declaration of war" on the part of radical anti-abortion activists whom he calls "fundamentalist terrorists . . . no different from al-Qaida, the Taliban or any of them."

It is not hard to understand why Dr. Carhart is as enraged as he is. Carhart has been the target of anti-choice/"pro-life" forces for years. His clinic in Nebraska was the site of many violent and more peaceful pro-life protests over the years. In 1991, his home and farm were burned to the ground, causing the death of numerous animals. Though no one was ever prosecuted for the crime, an anonoymous note claimed that the murder of his animals was just like the murdering of children. 

I remember meeting Dr. Carhart at a fundraiser for the non-profit health center for which I worked. What struck me first, as a newly initiated reproductive health advocate, was a large button on the lapel of his suit. It simply said, "Trust Women." The simplicity of the statement almost brought me to tears. Dr. Carhart wasn’t advocating for a particular procedure, he wasn’t stating his opposition to anything. His message was uplifting, positive and based in respect for women as human beings. 

Now, Dr. Carhart’s message of trusting women has transformed, at least for awhile. He considers Dr. Tiller’s murder "deeply personal," according to the Omaha newspaper, and he is "filled with rage
at the level of violence directed toward abortion providers." But he will continue to ensure that women receive the medical care they need:

Carhart said that neither Tiller’s clinic nor his own would close because of the killing, saying he would do everything he could to assist women who needed his services: "We have to do everything we can to help women not get pregnant when they aren’t able to care for the child. And when that’s not possible, we have to continue providing the option for abortion services that are safe and healthy for women."

It’s a circle of care and compassion that continues. Dr. George Tiller, I’m sure, could not be more proud of his friend and colleague, Leroy Carhart.  And though access is one of the greatest challenges for women in need of a late term abortion, at least for now this option will remain. 

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  • invalid-0

    This is the same Carhart who illegally re-opened his abortion business following damage in an accidental fire and city officials shut him down.

    That’s because the city of Bellevue, outside Omaha, did not have a chance ot inspect the repairs to make sure women’s health was proteted.

    Carhart also put women’s health at risk by relying on a generator for power with an electrical cord running outside from the generator to the abortion facility to provide electricity. Should it have failed, women could have been in medical danger.

    And if you ever look at the facility, it looks like it is being run in the back of a junkyard. I can’t imagine any woman feeling safe or comfortable in this dipaladated excuse for an abortion center.

    But to hell with women’s health. Carry on, Mr. Carhart, carry on. There are abortions to be done.

  • amie-newman

    continue to post unsubstantiated and easily debunked comments on our site, please, please, please at least post your name. It is not only unbelievably easy to dispute said comments (with no links or sources to back up claims) but undermines your point if you remain anonymous. I guess it makes it easier on those of us who run this site and write for the site.  

     

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    “I can’t imagine any woman feeling safe or comfortable in this dipaladated excuse for an abortion center.”

    You have a world of information available to you thanks to the int4rwebs. At least use dictionary.com to find out how to spell words you don’t know.

    You’re looking for ‘dilapidated.’

  • invalid-0

    when someone only points out spelling errors, that this is about all he can do to discredit the argument he opposes.

  • invalid-0

    From the Leach “Salt Shaker” website (mentioned as being “scripturally” supportive of Tiller’s assassination), regarding killing abortion doctors:

    “…so far, the only way to save hundreds, arguably thousands of unborn lives, now, has been to destroy abortion buildings or kill abortionists.”

    Also: “But he does not take life seriously who condemns physically stopping the most brutal, violent murder in America today! He cares not about violence who sees it not in tearing unborn babies limb from limb but only in physically stopping it!”

    Link:
    http://www.saltshaker.us/AmericanIssues/Life/Prolife.html

    These kinds of sites are the heart of the extremist anti-abortion movement of which Troy Newman and Randall Terry (Operation Rescue), and, obviously, Scott Roeder, are a part of.

    These kinds of sites and their dogma should be more widely reported, to allow the world’s populace a closer look at the mindsets of these domestic anti-abortion terrorists.

    Perhaps in bringing these individuals to light, we’ll prevent a re-run of yesterday’s Tiller tragedy.

  • invalid-0

    wow, Dr. Tiller’s murder (and then these comments as the reaction to this hateful act) should really be a wake up call.

  • invalid-0

    between these crackpots and Tiller….

    One kills to “save babies”, the other to protect the “mental health” of women who don’t want to be mothers.

    Neither are worthy goals, although one has legal protection.

  • invalid-0

    It was a mistake to identify the doctor that is taking Tiller’s place by name. The Pro-Life terrorists will target him and his family, harass them, and maybe even kill them. They believe that the Liberals will not fight them in like fashion. They believe that Liberals will just let them bomb clinics and kill doctors and there will be no reckoning. Maybe the “Liberals” should start some retribution, some good ol’ eye-for-an-eye. How many clinics have been bombed? And yet the buildings for the local Right-to-Life are still standing. Maybe that should change.

  • invalid-0

    The goals of these opposing organizations and their respective cadre are far more complex and intricate than your simplistic “gnat’s wing” analogy would support.

    The two bodies are, in fact, light-years apart…in almost every way.

    I would also like to hear an explanation regarding these anti-abortion Taliban and their proclivity for being overweight white folk. And almost exclusively male. And middle-aged.

    Indeed, therein lies a puzzle for even the most lettered of anthropologists!

  • invalid-0

    To kill in the name of life: In true Machiavellian style, a so-called pro-life extremist has taken the life of a kind, gentle and very brave doctor. He actually shot him in a house of worship. What sort of sick and twisted morality led him to kill in the name of life? He probably believed that he was carrying out his god’s will, and that he’ll be rewarded in heaven for executing Dr. Tiller. I personally hope that this scumbag painfully rots in a cell for the rest of his life. It matters not to extremists like this that people like Dr. Tiller do miracles for women every day – God’s work – counseling, testing, education, outreach, support. Dr. Tiller is now another martyr in the struggle for human rights because last time I checked, women’s rights are still human rights.

    Love your post, Amy!

    • invalid-0

      You call tillers work God’s work…you are full of the devil! But don’t worry…tiller will save a spot for you too.

      • invalid-0

        Well said, anonymous…well said…..the prolife movement isn’t going anywhere! Someone has to stand up for these precious babies whose lives are being snuffed out by legal murder!

  • invalid-0

    It would be a TREMENDOUS mistake to apply the tactics of the Fundamentalist Anti-Abortion Terrorists. We must simply go about our lives, normally, and not let them intimidate us in any way. Shore-up security, yes, but going on the physical offensive would be bad form, foolish, and counter-productive in the extremes. Not to mention MORALLY INCORRECT.

  • amie-newman

    Your words are beautiful as is the sentiment behind it. Thanks!

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    I was born and raised in Wichita and have known about Dr. Tiller for some time. I was sickened to hear he was murdered. He was an ally for women in Kansas, as well as the entire country, in the belief that WE are in control of our bodies and WE should be allowed the freedom to make our own health choices. I am sure that the “man” who took him from his loving family believed he was doing the right thing. What he has done, however, is deeply widen the gap between the two opposing sides of this un-ending battle and cause an innocent family to suffer an enormous loss. Words cannot express my sympathies to his family, co-workers, and all the women he helped.

  • amie-newman

    is a well-known provider who has fought for women’s rights and access to care for many years. As I write in the post, he was integrally involved in the two Supreme Court cases involving partial birth abortion bans. While I agree that generally it is smart not to mention a provider’s name unless she or he consents, in this case Dr. Carhart has no problems with having a public persona in this regard. I also agree, however, that violence is not an appropriate method of achieving social justice.

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • bj-survivor

    Get your facts straight, terrorist-apologizer. Better yet, just go away, you vile excuse for a human being.

  • bj-survivor

    See above, terrorist-apologizer, and you will be enlightened by the facts. I’m pretty sure that lying is a Lake of Fire-worthy offense according to the Holy Bible, so you really need to stop it. Not only does it make you and your side look bad, but it has effects far into the afterlife.

    • invalid-0

      Please show this hateful person respect; they are a BJ survivor and from what I understand BJ’s are very tramatic experience. So please excuse thier nasty rhetoric, as they may be experiencing post-tramatic stress syndrome due to thier BJ encounter.

  • bj-survivor

    Again, get your facts straight, terrorist-apologizer. Dr. Tiller provided medically necessary abortion
    services for doomed, very much wanted, pregnancies, as well as counseling for these would-be mothers who grieve for their children who almost were.

  • invalid-0

    to date.

    And the violence you advocate would be in agreement with the philosophy and example of your leaders.

    The killer of Tiller was acting in contradiction of the philosophy and example of the leaders of ht pro-life movement.

  • invalid-0

    Isn’t it the killers of the children the ones that make the argument that the ends justify the means?

  • invalid-0

    “In 1991, their horse farm was set on fire; 17 horses and their cat and dog were killed.”

    Ahahahahahaha!

    How old is this monster? 68? Oh well, this killer will die of natural causes pretty soon anyway. He’s the last one willing to murder at 40 weeks! What are you sociopaths going to do when he’s gone?

  • invalid-0

    Your appeals to emotion with terms like “killing children” only serve to demonstrate your unwillingness to approach this subject with the seriousness and candor it requires. You’re clearly not up to the task as you attempt to demean those who fundamentally disagree with you but are willing to exchange opinions. If you can’t get past “baby killer”, you’re simply not prepared to sit at the adult table and engage in the discourse.

  • invalid-0

    a true Jihadist.

  • invalid-0

    Maybe there are some moral and decent Doctors out there who have indeed preformed abortions. They were presented with a hard situation such as endangerment to a woman’s life, or severe deformities of the baby.

    It would be a mistake to associate Dr. Tiller & Dr. Carhart with men and women like these. Your deffinition of the late Dr.’s kindness, is what the business world would call customer service. Dr. Tiller knew this. He consistently did what was in his best interest such as stated, and giving money to the campaigns of politicians who vetoed bills to provide more oversight in the late-term abortion process. Dr. Carhart was known for systematically pulling babies legs out of the womb, slicing open thier heads as thier little legs writhed, and sucking his/her brains out of thier heads. You see, it was ok though because they didn’t let the head fully come out of the woman’s body…just the rest of the babies body. Apparently this magical transformation into a human being occurs when the head leaves the vagina (also politically termed as partial birth abortion.) In the accusations and investigations regarding Tiller’s improper use of late term abortions, it was found out that Tiller gave a late term abortion to a woman for the medical reason of temporary depression…because she wouldn’t be able to attend a rock concert.

    The thing is you are painting the scene of martyrdom to advance your own cause. These men, however, were not martyrs but monsters. I have never hurt a fly in my life, and I find the murder of Dr. Tiller disgusting. He was murdered, and that is tragic, but if he is your martyr than it must be an awful cause you support.

    The “kind” doctor knew customer service. That customer service afforded him a million dollar home in a gated neighborhood, a beach home, and millions of dollars in revenue.

  • invalid-0

    what do you mean dr.carhart cut legs and all that when he proformed abottions?

  • invalid-0

    What I mean is…Dr. Carhart was known for doing partial birth aborition, one of the most barbaric ways to abort children. If you would like to see a diagram of what happens, click below:

    http://iwka.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/partial-birth_abortion.jpg

  • therealistmom

    That is a completely made up name. There IS a procedure called an intact D&X used in very extreme circumstances when the woman’s life is in danger or the fetus is dead or had a fatal defect. Dr. Carhart actually didn’t even perform D&X procedures when he went to bat to keep it legal- he recognized as did many in the medical profession that sadly it is a necessary procedure sometimes. The -already dead- fetus is turned around feet first and drawn into the vagina, then the skull is collapsed via suction so it will ease the passage though the cervix. No, it is not pretty, but it is better and safer than the alternative procedures. Otherwise, the doctor literally has to dismember the (already dead!) fetus to remove it, a procedure which has a greater chance of causing infection in the woman. Delivery via intact D&X allows the family to see the results of a wanted pregnancy; to hold the infant that wasn’t to be, to mourn, to have services if they so desire. People like Dr. Tiller and Dr. Carhart recognize the pain involved when women and families have to make these choices in late pregnancy and care enough to make sure they have a safe medical procedure and the chance to heal. Too bad people who spread disinformation like “partial birth abortion” and the mythical woman with a hangnail who wants a 36 week abortion don’t.

  • invalid-0

    Interesting you spend the majority of your time arguing over terminology. The fact that there is a medical name, and a common term associated with the same procedure proves nothing. They are the same procedure! You see, your defense of people like Dr. Tiller and Dr. Carhart do more to harm your cause then ever before. The circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. Tiller caused me and others to research and find rather alarming things. In response the pro-choice movement has labeled this man a martyr…and that has for the first time made the pro-choice movement lose all credibility in my mind. If you would like to hear the truth from an independant investigation of Dr. Tiller’s practice, watch the video below. Dr. Carhart was not able to open his own facility back up because it didn’t meet city codes…in fact, an electricity source was a generator attached to the building by a plug. I’m sure Dr. Carhart is eager to use Dr. Tiller facility

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mviFMpy_sBU

  • invalid-0

    Dr. Tiller took excellent care of his patients, and so did his staff. That’s great customer service, yes. But in his case, he did his job knowing that he could get shot at any time. In fact, he did his job *having been* shot. The fact is this: he had a medical degree as an OB/Gyn. He could, at any time, have gone into another area of his field and continued to serve his patients without risk to himself. He didn’t. He continued to do his work, and he continued to risk his life to do it. That’s not customer service. That’s dedication, and knowing that if you aren’t there for the patients and their existing families, they will suffer needlessly. I know *you* don’t think that it is an unreasonable hardship for a woman to carry a pregnancy to term despite its non-viability, or despite the fact that it was the result of rape or incest and the patient is a minor, or despite the fact that the fetus is dead already. Thankfully, Dr. Tiller and many others know that this *is* a hardship, and one that women should not have to suffer.

  • invalid-0

    Timothy,

    Can you provide good source(s) that support your contention that an abortion was performed so a woman could attend a rock concert?

    I am not seeking a passing statement on a video, but redacted documents or source for the actual doctor’s notes to show information and context? Or are you just repeating what you have heard?

    Seriously, do you really believe that a woman waddled into a facility, and was heartily taken in, for a late-term, emotionally taxing, and physically painful procedure just because she was upset at the prospect of not being able to go and dance the night away?

    No, I think there is CONTEXT or other information missing. In fact, my experience has been this: if a pro-life claim sounds downright absurd, then with a fair amount of research it is easily found to be false or without serious basis, at least.

    Please provide the good sources to back your statement.

    • http://trend-tech.blogspot.com/ invalid-0

      To Catholics already absolutely it is clear, that all system of moral reference points of a society is brought to such denominator, that they – with their aversion of abortions, church blessing of homosexual marriages – all the same in it will not be entered.

  • invalid-0

    I’ve done a lot of research on Dr. Tiller and his medical reasoning behind facilitating late term abortions. Dr. Tiller fit the law to his own ideologies. He believed that a woman should be able to choose to have an abortion whenever she wanted it. I was going to edit the statement (which really should be an option on here). I believe, and know, some late term abortions have been thought out and have been because of very hard circumstances. However, Dr. Tiller’s nature and ideology was that women should never be denied an abortion so long as they truly expressed desire to have one. Dr. Tiller would write social reasons, as medical ones. In review of Dr. Tiller’s records the depression women experienced was not a psychiatric disorder that would be irreversibly harmful if the women gave birth (as the law states). There was certainly a conflict between the law, and what was a “psychiatric evaluation” given by Dr. Tiller. If you like, you can ignore the rock concert statement, and this discrepancy still exists. If you would like to gain access to Dr. Tiller’s medical records, I am afraid I can’t help you there.

  • invalid-0

    No, I DO think those are great hardships. That was not what Dr. Tiller was accused of. Really, it isn’t a matter of opinion though. It is a matter of whether he was following the law and accepted medical and psychiatric evaluations.

  • invalid-0

    i guess that i can understand both sides. my sister was rapped and ended up pregnet by the man who rapped her, she got an abortion, i do not judge her and nor do i look at her any different because of her chice.

  • invalid-0

    Dear Dr. Carhart,

    My daughter had an abortion and her husband and I quietly without fanfare supported her. She is the main support of her family for healthcare and education and other aspects of her life. I just saw NOW on NPR TV and I wish to express my admiraton for your courage and for the courage of your family who have to endure the dangers that you have so willingly undertaken. I live in an aea where support of your mission is endorsed, but we do not face the dangers that your mission exposes you to every day. Thank you for your decency, for your concern for women who simply cannot afford to endure unwanted pregnancies, your courage. I would like to help you forward your mission in whatever ways I can. I am a retired teacher so my support financially can only be modest.

    Sincrely,
    Marcia Easterling

  • invalid-0

    All is my comment above.

  • invalid-0

    Rebut to Rachelpea: Neither LeRoy Carhart nor George Tiller were ever Ob-gyns as their state medical license documents verify. In an interview with Citizen mag, Carhart admitted he is a surgeon who is not board certified. Tiller’s emphasis was family practice.

  • invalid-0

    I suggest all of you that are condemning the performance of late-term abortions read A Heartbreaking Choice, particularly the stories of those who had to travel to Kansas for their abortions. These are all stories of women who had abortions for the sake of their children, children they wanted but that they learned would not live, or would do nothing but suffer for whatever length of life they did have. These are the women Tiller helped, women who wanted to save their children from suffering by letting them die in peace.

  • invalid-0

    I thank all physicians who provide health care to women. The bottom line is, this is an issue that is between the woman, her physician and her God.

  • http://dynastyirondoors.com/page/1n4w7/INTERIOR_WINE_DOORS/WROUGHT_IRON_DOORS.html invalid-0

    I don’t know if all of these other commentors remember that we live in America. We are able to have health care when we need it and we are also able to state our own opinions. That is one of the great parts of having rights and freedoms!