(Photo: AP / Nati Harnik)
Years after protesting late-term abortions at the late George Tiller's now closed clinic in Wichita, Kan., a pro-life group has moved its efforts to Bellevue, Neb.
There, Dr. LeRoy Carhart remains one of the few doctors willing to perform abortions late into pregnancy.
Operation Rescue has teamed up with four former employees of Carhart in efforts to close down what it calls a "filthy, ugly, 'back alley' style" abortion clinic in Bellevue. The four women have come out with allegations of unsafe conditions and illegal post-viability abortions.
"We commend these brave women for coming forward to tell of unsafe and illegal conditions that exist at Carhart’s abortion mill," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman in a statement. "Their courage will help protect women whose health and safety at currently at risk."
Two of the former workers told Omaha World-Herald that they were taught to insert IV needles and to give intravenous medication at Carhart's clinic. Neither was a registered nurse or a certified licensed practical nurse, which is a requirement in Nebraska. One of the women had only a high school diploma, according to the local newspaper.
"In general, it's women who are not educated, trained or licensed that are handling duties at the clinic, including starting IVs and assisting with surgeries," Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue, told Omaha World-Herald.
Another former employee recalled unsanitary conditions during her time there.
The women's names were not revealed for fear of reprisal.
Operation Rescue ran its own investigation and released reports of former patients who testified that the Women's Health Care Services in Wichita – where Carhart was employed at the time – falsified the gestational age of viable babies to avoid complying with the law and performed illegal abortions. Kansas law prohibits abortion when the fetus is viable unless the mother's life in danger.
A complaint, filed by Operation Rescue, Christian Defense Coalition, Rescue the Heartland and Nebraskans United for Life to the attorney general's office, was forwarded to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
"These allegations are serious and demand immediate action on the part of the authorities in the interest of public safety. We pray that Carhart’s abortion career, which has cost untold thousands of innocent lives and led to the exploitation of thousands of women, will be brought to a speedy and peaceful end through legal channels," said Newman.
Carhart denied doing anything "improper," according to Omaha World-Herald.
Dubbed the "abortion evangelist" by Newsweek, Carhart has been operating his Bellevue clinic since 1985. When his close friend Tiller was allegedly shot dead by an abortion opponent – not associated with any pro-life group – in May, he began offering late-term abortions at his clinic. He had only performed such procedures at Tiller's Wichita clinic.
He has also begun training doctors on how to do abortions, considering very few perform abortions on women in their late second and early third trimesters, and has mentioned plans to open a late-term abortion center in Kansas.
As part of its "Keep It Closed" campaign, Operation Rescue is holding demonstrations outside Carhart's clinic this weekend along with a training session to educate pro-lifers on how to peacefully and legally shut down late-term abortion centers.
"[O]ur new mission is to stop LeRoy Carhart from becoming the new George Tiller," the pro-life group states.
The group condemns violence and says there is no need for it.
"These days, we know how to put the abortionists behind bars!" Operation Rescue says, noting that it was only about two months away from getting George Tiller’s medical license revoked before he was killed.