After Tiller: Operation Rescue Picks New TargetS

Since Dr. Tiller's assassination, Dr. Leroy Carhart has begun performing abortions "past 24 weeks" at his clinic in Nebraska. And, predictably, Operation Rescue has turned their attention to him.

Monica Davey of the New York Times writes that before Tiller's murder, Carhart performed abortions up to 22 weeks at the Nebraska clinic. However, now that women can't go to Tiller, he says "there is a need" for later procedures, "and I feel deeply about it." He won't specify exactly how late he is willing to perform abortions — perhaps because anything after the 23rd week requires special consultation with him — but his fee schedule mentions procedures as late as the 27th week. Since he has begun providing this service, Operation Rescue has been directing at him some of the vitriol they once saved for Dr. Tiller. Says Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, "We're trying to get criminal charges against him, to get his license revoked, and to get legislators there to look at the law."

Apparently this includes accusing Carhart of the very same "crime" they once tried to pin on Tiller. In 2006, the organization successfully persuaded a grand jury to investigate Tiller's role in the death of a 19-year-old woman named Christin Gilbert. Gilbert had Down syndrome, and became pregnant after she was raped. She received a late-term abortion at Tiller's clinic, and, tragically, died of complications several days later. According to an MSNBC story at the time, Operation Rescue and its anti-abortion allies wanted Tiller charged with "involuntary manslaughter, mistreatment of a dependent adult, and failure to report abuse of a child." The jury found Tiller innocent — and now Operation Rescue is trying to claim that Carhart was actually responsible for Gilbert's death.

The organization put up a blog post in August titled "We Can LEGALLY Stop LeRoy Carhart From Taking Tiller's Place As The Nation's #1 Late-Term Abortionist." The post begins with a "quote" from the dead woman: "'LeRoy Carhart killed me and my baby.' –Christin Gilbert, if she could speak today…" The group that once tried to get Tiller indicted for the manslaughter of Gilbert now says,

That's where LeRoy Carhart comes in. He frequently worked at Tiller's mill-filling in for Tiller as needed-and he was the abortionist in charge of killing Christin's baby.

In fact, the post doesn't mention Tiller's role in the abortion, or in Gilbert's death, at all. Instead, it says,

At Tiller's mill, Carhart and the Tiller staff finally placed an emergency call to 911-begging the dispatcher to come with "No lights, no sirens!" Then they placed the 911 operator ON HOLD for forty-five critical seconds!

Meanwhile, Christin's life ebbed away.[...]

Christin died a horrible, agonizing death at the hands of LeRoy Carhart and the staff at George Tiller's infamous abortion mill.

So who "killed" Christin Gilbert? Apparently, whoever Operation Rescue wants to shut down at the moment. They write,

But now that George Tiller's mill is closed forever, LeRoy Carhart plans to "take his place" and open a new late-term abortion mill in Wichita-in addition to the filthy butchering mill he already operates in Nebraska.

And this is where Operation Rescue comes in.

At least Operation Rescue is careful to say "there is no need for violence against LeRoy Carhart or any abortionist." But others aren't so principled, and since Tiller's death, Carhart has fortified his clinic with a metal detector, new security cameras, and a security consultant. He also limits his travel to short trips and, on the rare occasions he eats out, stays less than 30 minutes. Carhart has to place himself under virtual house arrest because he performs a legal medical procedure — hopefully, this will at least keep him physically safe. Unfortunately, it won't protect him from those who seek to pin a rape victim's tragic death on anybody they don't like.

Abortion Battle Shifts To Clinic In Nebraska [NYT]
We Can LEGALLY Stop LeRoy Carhart From Taking Tiller's Place As The Nation's #1 Late-Term Abortionist [Operation Rescue]

Earlier: More Threats Emerge Against American Abortion Providers
What's Next For Tiller's Clinic, Scott Roeder, And Abortion In Kansas?