Archive for February, 2013

Questions and Answers on Late-Term Abortion

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013



This illustration is of a child in the womb at 35 weeks.

A young woman from New York died tragically last week after a 33-week abortion at the Maryland clinic of Dr. LeRoy Carhart. In her new book, “Recall Abortion,” (Saint Benedict Press) longtime pro-life activist Janet Morana delves into late-term abortions, why women choose them and the alternatives.

Q. Why do women and couples turn to doctors like LeRoy Carhart to terminate pregnancies of nearly at-term babies?

A. There are many reasons. Couples may be told their baby has a life-limiting illness or will be born with a serious disability. They are afraid to face a lifetime of hospital visits and medical procedures for their child. I know from my research for “Recall Abortion” that many doctors advise their patients to abort, even late in pregnancy, because the doctor is worried about wrongful birth or wrongful life lawsuits. This kind of medical advice leaves couples with no hope and no useful information about alternatives. Sometimes a mother’s life may be at risk, although at 33 weeks, an ob-gyn would likely deliver the baby and then treat the mother. But even earlier in the pregnancy, a caring physician will treat both patients, mother and child. Despite these ill-fated forecasts babies sometimes beat all the odds. Even if a baby will only live for a few minutes or hours, isn’t it better to let nature take its course?

Q. If a baby is going to die shortly after birth, is there a better alternative to abortion?

A. Any alternative is better than abortion but thanks to pioneers like Dr. Byron Calhoun, there is a really good alternative. It’s called perinatal hospice, and it ensures that babies, no matter how sick or frail, will have a chance to meet their parents and feel love, even if briefly. Doctors have to do a much better job of letting their patients know such a thing exists. Dr. Calhoun says 75 percent of couples who are offered a hospice program will choose it over abortion. The parents won’t escape their grief because they will still lose their baby boy or girl, but they won’t have directly participated in that child’s death. Abortion only compounds grief.

Q. Why are such late-term abortions legal?

Most Americans don’t realize that abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy and for any reason. The Supreme Court decisions of 1973, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, said abortions up until the due date are legal if the mother’s physical or psychological health is imperiled. The psychological loophole opens the doors for all sorts of abortion abuse. Some states say that two doctors have to concur that a woman’s mental health is at risk without an abortion, but what we know is that these late-term abortionists work together to keep a steady stream of customers coming in for their services. A third-trimester abortion is a very expensive procedure for the patient, and often payment can only be made in cash. What kind of medical care is that? A lot of people also might think that since partial-birth abortion is no longer legal, that late-term abortions are not taking place anymore. As we saw at Carhart’s clinic, that is not the case. Abortionists just use other techniques to kill at-term babies, and they are every bit as brutal as partial-birth.

Q. How do Americans feel about late-term abortion?

Just about every opinion poll that asks a non-ambiguous question about late-term abortion finds respondents overwhelmingly against this brutal procedure. Pollsters who want their numbers to come out in favor of abortion ask questions like, “should Roe v. Wade be overturned,” and then we see that the country is divided. But when they bother to ask, should abortion in the second or third trimesters be legal, people know they can’t fall back on the “blob of tissue” defense. These are fully formed babies, with heartbeats and eyelashes, who wave their hands and kick their feet and suck their thumbs. People recognize this and have the courage to tell a pollster they oppose it. But then most of them go back to ignoring the abortion issue.


Q. What advice would you give to women or couples considering a third-trimester abortion?

I would urge them, first of all, to seek a second opinion. In our work at Priests for Life, all of us have met women who say they received terrible pre-natal diagnoses and their babies were fine. So a second opinion is vital. If they are sure their baby has a life-limiting illness, I would suggest they look into perinatal hospice at  A loving birth and a dignified death are always preferable to a brutal, soul-scarring abortion. If the parents are worried about not being able to care for a disabled, or multiply disabled child, I would suggest they go to to find resources and support. And I would ask them to consider the risks to the mother. Women die from these procedures. That’s a truth no one can refute.


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Isn’t it time to Recall Abortion?

Friday, February 8th, 2013


Sundance Festival film-goers in Utah were said to have wept at the heroics of the last four abortionists in America willing to kill third-trimester babies. LeRoy Carhart was one of the four “doctors” featured in the documentary “After Tiller.”

Today Carhart is making people weep for a different reason. On Thursday, a 29-year-old woman who was 33 weeks pregnant died during a four-day abortion procedure at his abortion clinic in Maryland.

According to the Maryland Coalition for Life – which cited credible anonymous sources —  the out-of-state woman arrived at Germantown Reproductive Health Service Sunday evening to begin the procedure. Pro-lifers who pray outside the clinic on a regular basis said the woman appeared “pale and weak” when she returned to the clinic Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Thursday morning around 5 a.m., according to the Maryland coalition, the woman was in pain but unable to reach Carhart for assistance. She was driven to a hospital emergency room in a private vehicle. She was pronounced dead several hours later.

This is not the first abortion fatality for Carhart. He was implicated in the death of Christin Gilbert in 2005. Ms. Gilbert was a 19-year-old with Down syndrome whose parents took her to George Tiller’s late-term clinic in Wichita, where Carhart was an associate.

We don’t know why the woman who died yesterday chose an abortion for her nearly full-term child but the choice proved fatal to her, as it has to hundreds of women in the 40 years since the U.S. Supreme Court Roe V. Wade decision made abortion legal any time during pregnancy and for any reason. Most Americans still do not realize that abortions take place in the third-trimester. At 33 weeks, this woman’s baby was certainly viable.

If her life was imperiled by the pregnancy, she could have had labor induced or even had a C-section, and she and the baby likely would be alive today. If the young woman had a doctor who was committed to life, and to the practice of good medicine, she might not have made the trip to Maryland that ended her life.

“You never pit the life of the mother against the life of the child,” Dr. John Bruchalski of the Tepeyac Family Center in Virginia told me for my book, “Recall Abortion.”

“You have to have a relationship with the patient to be able to convince her that you won’t let her die and that her baby doesn’t have to die either,” Dr. Bruchalski said. “What we do with mothers at risk is practice good medicine. We monitor her, in the hospital or even in intensive care if we need to. We deliver the baby when we have to.”

If the baby had a life-limiting disorder, his mother could have turned to a perinatal hospice program that would care for her  in the late stages of her pregnancy, and give her and her family a chance to hold and cuddle and love the baby for however long he or she would live. The baby would have experienced love and died with dignity. Dr. Byron Calhoun, a pioneer of perinatal hospice, said the hospice program was developed as an alternative to late-term abortion. A better choice.

“We had to have something to offer people other than ‘don’t do that,’” he said.

Parents who choose perinatal hospice still must deal with the grief that comes from losing a child, but studies have shown they can deal with that grief much better than those who choose late-term abortion.

“We explain that they’re not going to escape any of the grief,” Dr. Calhoun says in the book. “But we ask them if they want to spend time with their babies.”  He said 75 percent of couples who are offered perinatal hospice choose it over abortion.

LeRoy Carhart was the worst choice this woman could have made, and now she and her baby have paid the ultimate price.

How many women will have to die before Carhart is forced into retirement?

How many babies will be torn limb from limb before we realize the inhumanity of our actions?

How much longer until we recall abortion?

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