LeRoy Carhart is a doctor in Nebraska who worked with George Tiller, the doctor recently murdered in Kansas. Carhart has faced direct attacks, violence and threats of violence but continues to do this work. LeRoy Carhart is 67 and it was difficult not to be impressed by his courage and commitment not only to his work but also to training new doctors.
Good on Newsweek for running this story. It certainly got me thinking about New Zealand and our shortage of obstetricians and gynacologists.
In the wake of Tiller's assassination, Carhart began offering late-term abortions in his own practice—before, he'd done so only at Tiller's Wichita clinic—and started planning a new late-term clinic to replace Tiller's, where he could see women in the late second and early third trimesters. He's fielded calls from three physicians who want to learn how to do abortions. Two have already begun training. "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," says Carhart. "That makes [the anti-abortion activist's] job 10 times harder because there are now 10 times more of us."
He won't take long vacations because "you can't leave the women waiting, or at least don't want to." He maintains medical licenses in seven states so that if another provider is "hurt, retired, or killed," he can step in. If women need this service, Carhart reasons, who is he to say no? If he won't provide these complex and challenging abortions, who will?