Analysis

Despite a horrific history, notorious late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart is still in business

Carhart

LeRoy Carhart is one of the most notorious abortionists in the U.S., and one of the few who commits abortions very late in pregnancy. Carhart opened a family medicine practice after retiring from the United States Air Force, but as noted by the National Catholic Register, that wasn’t profitable, so he chose to become an abortion provider. He claimed an incident of arson turned him from a mere abortion practitioner into an “activist,” and he never looked back.

 

Carhart’s experience with late-term abortions is something he learned from the late Dr. George Tiller. Carhart told NPR that Tiller explicitly asked him to learn the “practice” of killing viable preborn children because both men were targeted by violent extremists claiming to be pro-life. Tiller was eventually murdered by one of these extremists, and Carhart carried on Tiller’s gruesome legacy. Both before and after Tiller’s death, Carhart drove from his Bellevue, Nebraska, facility to Tiller’s facility in Wichita, Kansas. When NPR asked Carhart why he drove instead of flying, he said, “[T]here were not adequate flights in order to do that… [I]t’s unfortunate, but the doctors just will not do it.”

Unprofessional conduct

While Carhart portrays himself as a valiant crusader for women, the truth is quite different. Complaints against Carhart date as far back as 1991; a complaint against Carhart from the state of Nebraska uncovered numerous instances of unprofessional conduct, including altering patient charts, talking on the phone while committing multiple abortions, and falling asleep while injecting a patient with lidocaine. The complaint also noted that Carhart committed an abortion on a patient who had active tuberculosis, but didn’t allow his staff to wear masks while operating on her, causing some of them to walk out. An abortion facility staffer also accused Carhart of leaving the facility in the middle of the procedure to go outside and throw rocks at the window.

Animal neglect

In 1992, Carhart’s four horses and two dogs had to be confiscated due to neglect. The horses were not being fed, and the hay that was present was kept just out of the horses’ reach. The animals were found, ribs visible, in mud and excrement a foot deep. One horse was in such poor condition that the animal control officer said it would have died had she not intervened immediately.

It was also learned that the emergency number given to Carhart’s abortion patients actually belonged to his wife’s horse business.

In the 1993 motion Nebraska vs. Carhart, Carhart agreed to no longer talk on the phone or take naps while committing abortions. He also agreed to stop falsifying patient records, and better protect his staff from infectious diseases.

Death of a patient

In 2004, Carhart killed one of his first victims. Christin Gilbert, a young woman with Down syndrome, was taken to Carhart for an abortion at 28 weeks pregnant after a sexual assault. Carhart was still working for Tiller at this point in his career, and he began the process of an induction abortion, injecting Gilbert’s baby with a fatal shot of digoxin to the heart and inserting laminaria into her cervix to begin the dilation process. But things went drastically, horribly wrong.

 

Gilbert delivered her baby’s body in the family van on the way back to the abortion facility. Despite this, Carhart decided to commit a D&C, or dilation and curettage, on Gilbert, lacerating her uterus. Instead of seeking emergency care, Carhart sutured the tear, and gave Gilbert RU-486 (or mifepristone, the abortion pill), which is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for abortions beyond 10 weeks of pregnancy. Gilbert and her family were sent back to their hotel room, and Gilbert quickly became septic. Her family desperately sought help from the staff at Tiller’s facility, but still no one sought emergency care; instead, Gilbert was given fluids and sent away. That night, Gilbert began vomiting, fainting, and bleeding, and the family begged for help again. Carhart did not show up, but a staffer came to put Gilbert in a warm bath and left.

The next morning, Gilbert fainted and couldn’t be revived. She awoke at the abortion facility, but fainted again; it was only then that staffers finally called 911. However, they refused to tell EMS personnel any details about her condition, instead keeping them them on hold for almost a minute while Gilbert was unresponsive so that Carhart could decide how best to manage the situation. When paramedics arrived, they found Carhart on top of Gilbert, trying to force fluids from her stomach, as Gilbert was lying in “huge amounts” of blood and fluid. At the hospital, she was found to have been bleeding out of every single orifice. Gilbert died at the young age of 19, with her autopsy report noting that merely giving her antibiotics could have prevented her death.

Former staff report unsafe practices and conditions

In 2009, Carhart fired approximately half of his staff, who revealed disturbing allegations; several of the staffers said abortions were being committed without proper licensing. Several of the staffers who were not nurses said they were administering medication and starting IV lines. The facility was also said to be kept in disgusting condition, with dried blood on surgical instruments, missing narcotics, illegal drug use by employees, and illegal abortions.

“One former employee told of incidents where Carhart falsified the gestational age of viable babies in order to circumvent the law. This account matches information uncovered by Operation Rescue during an undercover investigation at the now-closed Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas, where Carhart once worked,” Operation Rescue told Life News. “The worker caught falsifying gestational ages in Kansas now works for Carhart at his Bellevue, Nebraska, abortion clinic.”

In 2012, complaints against Carhart were filed again when he was caught illegally dumping biohazardous waste, private patient medical information, and dangerous drugs.

Carhart was featured in Live Action’s Inhuman investigation in 2013. In the video, he discussed his late-term abortions in shockingly callous language. At one point, he said that a baby injected with a feticide in the womb is “like putting meat in a Crock-pot, OK, it doesn’t get, it doesn’t get broke, but it just gets softer.” In another exchange, he joked about his abortion tool kit.

Woman: -for some reason, I’m not able to deliver, you’ll be able to get it out–

Dr. Carhart: We’d take it out in pieces.

Woman: –in pieces.

Dr. Carhart: But that, but that at 26 weeks is very, very rare.

Woman: What do you use to break it up? Just-

Dr. Carhart: A whole bunch of, you know-

Woman: (Laughs) You’ve got a toolkit.

Dr. Carhart: A pickaxe, a drill bit, yeah (laughs).

 

Death of another patient

Also in 2013, Carhart killed another young woman. Jennifer Morbelli, 29, and her daughter, Madison, were killed when Morbelli sought a late-term abortion, ostensibly due to a birth defect that would cause seizures. Carhart began an induction abortion, delivering a fatal shot of digoxin or potassium chloride into Madison’s heart. The next day, Carhart inserted laminaria into Morbelli’s cervix to begin dilation, and when she returned the following day, witnesses said she seemed pale and weak before leaving again. When Morbelli returned the next day, she was said to appear lethargic and ashen, but delivered Madison’s body after nine hours of labor.

The following day, Morbelli began experiencing chest pains, and her family desperately attempted to reach Carhart without success. This time, however, her family refused to return to Carhart’s facility, and took her instead to the hospital. Hospital personnel likewise tried to reach Carhart, but he did not give them any information about her condition. Morbelli coded six times before she passed away; her autopsy listed the cause of death as Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) due to an Amniotic Fluid Embolism. This means amniotic fluid entered Morbelli’s bloodstream, a condition known to have a high risk of death. DIC causes the blood to clot excessively, and is also known to be extremely life-threatening if not treated immediately.

Recent botched abortions and injuries

In recent years, Carhart has continued botching abortions and maiming women. In 2016, he sent two women to the hospital within five days, having injured another woman just weeks prior. He injured a woman in 2017, just weeks after re-establishing his abortion facility in Maryland; another woman was injured the very next month. Another patient injured by Carhart in 2018 hemorrhaged half her blood volume.

Horrifically, in May of 2020, Carhart mangled two women so badly during 25-week abortions that an anonymous hospital whistleblower said a surgeon sent out an email acknowledging the trauma experienced by attending hospital staff members. One of the women had to have a hysterectomy as a result of her injuries and one ended up with a resected bowel and a colostomy bag.

The 79-year-old abortionist is still believed to be committing abortions, meaning women and preborn children are still in danger, and will be as long as he is allowed to continue practicing.

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