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Abortionist Leroy Carhart in Court

April 12, 2000

Abortionist Leroy Carhart in Court

Leroy Carhart

In the summer of 1997, the state of Nebraska passed a bill proscribing the use of partial-birth abortion. Before the ink was dry on this law, a New York based pro-abortion legal organization, Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, challenged it in federal court. Nebraska child killer Leroy Carhart served as plaintiff. Now Carhart vs. Stenberg has reached the Supreme Court and was heard on April 25. Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenberg defended the law against Carhart's challenge.

The Argument

The abortion industry claims that the Nebraska prohibition is too broad and would restrict other abortion procedures even in the first trimester which, they contend, is in violation of Roe vs. Wade. Legislative Bill 23 (the law in question) defines "partial-birth abortion" as follows:

Partial-birth abortion means an abortion procedure in which the person performing the abortion partially delivers vaginally a living unborn child before killing the unborn child and completing the delivery. For purposes of this subdivision, the term partially delivers vaginally a living unborn child before killing the unborn child means deliberately and intentionally delivering into the vagina a living unborn child, or a substantial portion thereof, for the purpose of performing a procedure that the person performing such procedure knows will kill the unborn child and does kill the unborn child.

The lawsuit argues that this statute can and often does apply in other types of abortions including first trimester abortions.

What’s truly at stake

There are two things that are terribly important about the example above. First of all, Carhart admits that many live births result from his abortions. These babies are not partially but completely born when he kills them. So he is already practicing infanticide. Second, how is it that a child is able to survive a suction abortion? Normally the high-powered vacuum used in this procedure tears the child to pieces. Carhart helps answer this in his testimony.

In order to deliver a child alive, he first alters the procedure. He explains that when using a cannula bigger than the fetus, say a 9 cannula, the child will "come through intact without disruption." Why would he use such a novel variation in a standard procedure? It is in no way beneficial to the mother. In fact, a larger cannula stretches the uterus more than it needs to be. This is not only more painful for the mother, but carries with it substantially greater health risks, as it breaks down the elasticity of the uterine muscles making it more difficult to carry future pregnancies. This is especially true for young girls experiencing a first pregnancy. So, why would he do it?

Leroy Carhart harvests brain tissue (and who knows what else) for the University of Nebraska Medical Center research departments. In standard abortion procedures, organs and tissues are destroyed by the dismemberment process. For research purposes, the tissue must be as fresh as possible and undamaged. Brain cells, for example, die in about 8 minutes, making timing very important in retrieval. This abortion technique allows the child to be delivered intact and in "many instances" alive, thereby delivering a perfect "specimen" for researchers. In my opinion, what’s at stake here is not the right to abortion, but the right to harvest a living child’s body parts for research.

Morally flawed

There are serious moral problems with this legislation that need be considered. First of all, the ban won’t ban any abortions at all. It makes no attempt to stop the killing, it merely regulates the procedures involved. Christians should not be regulating murder? Many supporters of the ban claim that partial birth abortion is the moral equivalent to infanticide. Perhaps, but the strong implication here is that infanticide is somehow worse than abortion. Are older, more developed, born babies more valuable than their younger brothers and sisters? What kind of message does that send the American people? Others have said that partial birth abortion should be outlawed because it is a particularly cruel procedure. Are we saying that it is worse to kill a baby outside the womb than to dismember it inside? The unintended consequence of the “Partial Birth Abortion Ban” is that we say that babies partially outside the womb are more precious than those inside. This is the very rationale that the abortion industry is built upon.

I pray Carhart vs. Stenberg survives this constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court, but I am not deluded into thinking it will stop abortion. The truth is it probably will not save even one child’s life.

Larry Donlan,
Rescue The Heartland

Webmaster's Note: You can read the lawsuit, Carhart vs. Stenberg, here.


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