The national battle over abortion, for decades firmly planted outside the Kansas clinic of Dr. George R. Tiller, has erupted here in suburban Omaha, where a longtime colleague has taken up the cause of late-term abortions.
-- From "Abortion Battle Shifts to Clinic in Nebraska" by Monica Davey, The New York Times 12/3/09
Since Dr. Tiller was shot to death in May, his colleague, Dr. LeRoy H. Carhart, has hired two people who worked at Dr. Tiller’s clinic and has trained his own staff members in the technical intricacies of performing late-term abortions.
Dr. Carhart has also begun performing some abortions “past 24 weeks,” he said in an interview, and is prepared to perform them still later if they meet legal requirements and if he considers them medically necessary.
The late-term abortions, coming after the earliest point when a fetus might survive outside the womb, are the most controversial, even among some who favor abortion rights. A few of Dr. Carhart’s employees quit when he told them of his plans to expand the clinic’s work.
State law in Nebraska bans abortions in cases when a fetus clearly appears to have reached viability, except to “preserve the life or health of the mother.”
Dr. Carhart declined to provide specifics on how late in a pregnancy he would be willing to perform an abortion. Dr. Tiller performed them, in some cases, as late as in the third trimester of pregnancy. Dr. Carhart’s fee schedule lists prices for abortions up to 22 weeks and 6 days (at that point, $2,100 in cash or $2,163 on a credit card), but notes that abortions after 23 weeks are available “after consultation with our doctor,” and that abortions after the 27th week may take four days.
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