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The Reality of Late-Term Abortion

SusanEnouen   |   February 01, 2011

Most abortionists who specialize in doing abortions in the second- or third-trimester go quietly about their killing business without any media fanfare. But in the United States, there are at least 10 late-term abortionists doing abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy who have gotten a fair amount of media attention. Some of them are facing financial, licensing or criminal issues, and most are notorious, unabashed by the headlines they make. But they are just a fraction of the people who kill viable babies for a living. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research organization, indicates that 20% of abortionists will do abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.1 This means that in 2005, over 350 late-term abortionists killed pre-born babies beyond the 5th month of pregnancy.

These abortionists use grisly procedures that the average abortion facility is not necessarily equipped to provide, and the entire process requires 2-4 days. One of these procedures, Partial-Birth Abortion (also known as D&X — Intact Dilation and Extraction), was banned by federal law in 2007, but other techniques are still legal. For most people, it is reasonable to wonder why anyone would get involved in this gruesome business. News stories only provide a piece of the picture, but they suggest that some late-term abortionists live by a warped credo, professing to help women in need, while taking the lives of babies. Others appear to have no scruples whatsoever, and seem to care nothing for the women or the babies. The most notorious of them seem to think that they are above the law, operating with impunity. We have summarized the 10 late-term abortionists who are already well-publicized in news stories.

Steven Chase Brigham has abortion centers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and has had numerous problems with the law. His medical license in New Jersey was recently suspended due to a botched late-term abortion on a teenager, and because of serious violations of medical practice rules. Brigham was evading the late-term abortion restrictions in New Jersey by initiating the procedures there and then transporting the women to a secret facility in Elkton, Maryland, where the late-term abortions were completed. During one of these abortions, he critically injured a teenager and had to take her to the hospital, and in the process his scheme was exposed. When the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners ordered the suspension of his medical license in October 2010, they said he was “a clear and imminent danger to the public health and safety.” Maryland, where he has never been licensed to practice medicine, ordered him to cease and desist from doing abortions. Pennsylvania has ordered him to shut down his four abortion centers for not having properly licensed medical staff. In addition, Brigham has been sued by the family of a teenager who committed suicide as a result of depression following an abortion that he performed. The family claims that he did not inform her of the facts and risks of abortion.

LeRoy Carhart does abortions through the early third-trimester and declares that he provides a legitimate medical service that others will not offer. Until recently, Carhart did his late-term abortions at the Abortion and Contraception Clinic of Nebraska in Omaha. Since George Tiller’s death in May 2009, Carhart has tried to replace Tiller as the Midwest’s premier late-term abortionist, but things have not gone his way. In April 2010, Nebraska passed two pro-life bills that severely limited his late-term abortion business. One law requires abortionists to provide better mental health screening and also allows women to file lawsuits over post-abortion health problems. The other is a fetal pain law that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy because of well-established medical evidence that an unborn child of that age would feel intense pain during an abortion.

Carhart then sought funding to open new abortion centers in Iowa, Indiana and Maryland, with the intention of expanding his late-term abortion business into friendlier states. But the success of Nebraska’s innovative law on fetal pain, combined with the recent elections of many pro-life legislators, has inspired other states to try to enact similar fetal pain laws to limit late-term abortions. For its part, Iowa is drafting its own fetal pain legislation in reaction to the threat of Carhart’s invasion. In Council Bluffs, Iowa, a suburb of Omaha, the city council voted unanimously against allowing an abortion facility to be built on land that Carhart was rumored to be considering buying. Indiana and Maryland pro-life groups have also vowed to pursue legal means to stop Carhart from doing late-term abortions in their states.

In addition, it appears that financial backers for Carhart’s new facilities have not materialized. As a result, he has become a hired hand doing late-term abortions at Steven Chase Brigham’s former abortion facility in Germantown, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC Carhart’s arrival there in early December 2010 was marked by the protestations of hundreds of pro-lifers. He claims to be concerned that women won’t have a place to go for late-term abortions, and plans to file a lawsuit challenging the new fetal pain law in Nebraska. Carhart successfully challenged Nebraska’s partial-birth abortion ban, which the Supreme Court overturned in 2000. The Court reversed itself a few years later by upholding the partial-birth abortion ban approved by Congress.

However, the heir apparent to George Tiller’s profitable late-term abortion business appears to be Curtis Boyd in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Southwestern Women’s Options abortion center. With virtually no limits on late-term abortions in New Mexico, and with two of George Tiller’s former late-term abortionists on staff, Shelley Sella and Susan Robinson, Boyd is positioned to capitalize on this lucrative killing business. It has been reported that Tiller earned an average of $6,000 for each late-term abortion, and it is likely that Boyd charges similar amounts.

Not to be discounted as a principal late-term abortionist, Warren Hern has been the director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Colorado since 1975, and he does abortions up to the beginning of the ninth month of pregnancy, or 36 weeks gestation. On his website, he proudly displays the late-term abortion options that he provides. He has described man as a “malignant eco-tumor” destroying the earth because of over-population, comparing people to a cancer that eventually kills its host organism. He believes that by providing services to help people “control their fertility,” he is helping them to be responsible citizens, but he does not like being called an abortionist because of its negative connotation.

Abortionist James Pendergraft owns 5 abortion facilities in Florida, but is currently under a one-year suspension of his medical license. This is the fourth time his license has been suspended. He was also suspended in January 2010 for doing illegal late-term abortions and for the botched abortion of a 19-week-old unborn baby. The Florida Board of Medicine ruled that Pendergraft’s two active suspensions could run concurrently. Unfortunately, his abortion facilities have not been shut down, and other abortionists continue to work there.

One of the abortionists helping out at James Pendergraft’s facilities is Randall Whitney, who was recently arrested for failing to appear at his criminal trial. He had been charged with felony assault on a pregnant woman in March. According to reports, Whitney missed the woman’s vein when he administered intravenous valium for her abortion, and she started screaming in pain. He told her to shut up, accusing her of scaring the other patients. She stood up, telling him she wanted to leave, and he abruptly slapped her in the face. She ran out of the exam room screaming and proceeded to press charges against him. Whitney has also been accused of doing illegal late-term abortions and has closed his abortion center in Daytona Beach rather than comply with Florida law governing clinic safety. Currently, he is reported to be doing about 75% of the abortions at Pendercraft’s five abortion mills.

Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari made the news in 2008 when pro-life groups discovered the bodies of aborted babies, bio-hazardous waste, and patient records in the dumpsters outside two of his Detroit area facilities. Hodari was not prosecuted or fined for this illegal dumping of patient medical records, but he eventually received 6 months probation. In 2009, he was charged $10,000 in fines for negligence and incompetence in the death of a young woman at his facility after a botched abortion by a staff abortionist. As she lay dying, neither he nor his staff called an ambulance or tried to help her. At least two other women died after receiving an abortion from Hodari, which included a late-term abortion at 26 weeks, and several women have filed complaints against him for injuries received during their abortions. He is also blamed for the forced abortion of a 16-year old girl who was the victim of statutory rape and who went to his facility for a routine pre-natal check-up. Last year Hodari put his six Detroit-area abortion facilities up for sale amid speculation that he was planning to leave the country to avoid his extensive legal and financial problems.

Martin Haskell runs the Dayton, Ohio Women’s Med Center and has been credited with pioneering the Partial-Birth Abortion technique in 1992. He performed over 1,000 of these procedures until it was banned, but he and other late-term abortionists have found other ways to kill pre-born babies. Haskell’s biggest problems have been with the Ohio law that requires that his abortion facilities be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. The law also calls for a transfer agreement with local hospitals to provide care to women in the case of a medical emergency. The Ohio Health Department tried for 12 years to get Haskell to comply with that law and denied the licensing of his abortion mill time after time. Using every legal maneuver available, Haskell managed to hold off OHD indefinitely, and was eventually granted a variance that allows him to operate his abortion facility outside of compliance with a law that was intended to ensure the safety of women during abortions.

Most recently, Haskell caused an uproar when he moved his Cincinnati, Ohio abortion facility from a campus location to the suburbs, where his new facility shares a driveway with a pediatrician’s office. The pediatrician is disgusted that his patients must now drive by an abortion facility that makes a business of killing infants in order to get to an office where the doctors do everything in their power to keep infants healthy.

Although pro-abortion supporters claim that late-term abortions are “rare” and that most are performed because of fetal abnormalities or because of a grave threat to the mother, Martin Haskell claimed that 80% of his abortions in the 20-24 week range were “purely elective” and for “a variety of conditions. Some medical, some not so medical.”2 The Guttmacher Institute estimates that 1.5% of all abortions occur after 21 weeks gestation.3 But with a total of 1.2 million abortions in the United States in 2005, even that small percentage translated into 18,150 late-term abortions in one year, or about 50 dead babies per day. All of those babies would have felt the pain of their abortion and most would have been viable outside their mother’s womb. Whether or not that number of babies qualifies as “rare,” it is still a tragedy of epic proportions to those who value life. Yet, there is reason to hope that fetal pain legislation will prevail and ultimately end the barbaric practice of late-term abortions, putting these killers out of business.

As mentioned, we have highlighted these late-term abortionists because they have been in the news. But there are certainly more, so if you have information about any additional late-term abortionists, please forward that information to us at

  1. Guttmacher Institute, Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States
  2. Johnson, Douglas NRLC, Partial-Birth Abortions: A Closer Look; For What Reasons Are Partial-Birth Abortions Performed?
  3. Guttmacher Institute, Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States

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