Carhart Could Do Legal Late-Term Abortions in Nebraska, Attorney General Says

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 11, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Carhart Could Do Legal Late-Term Abortions in Nebraska, Attorney General Says

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 11
, 2009

Lincoln, NE ( — The attorney general for the state of Nebraska doesn’t like it but, after reviewing state and federal laws, he believes LeRoy Carhart may be able to do legal late-term abortions at his Omaha-area center.

Attorney General Jon Bruning responded to comments from Carhart that he will do late-term abortions in Kansas but may also do them temporarily at his Bellevue facility.

Bruning told the Omaha World-Herald newspaper that "loopholes" in the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions could make it impossible for Nebraska to stop Carhart from doing the abortions.

"I’m disgusted and saddened," he said, adding that the exceptions found in the Supreme Court decisions are so big "you can drive a truck through."

Carhart said Wednesday he would do abortions in cases where the unborn child is not able to survive on her own following birth or in cases where the baby has several physical problems.

He said he had not done any abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy, considered the point at which an unborn child can begin surviving outside his mother’s womb, because he could refer such abortions to Kansas-based late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller.

With Tiller having been shot recently and his abortion center closed, that is no longer possible, so Carhart will do abortions both after 22 weeks and after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Bruning told the newspaper that Nebraska law says abortions can’t be done if an unborn child has "clearly reached viability," although Carhart could defend himself by saying there is not a 100 percent survival rate at 22 weeks.

A bigger concern is that the Supreme Court decisions also allow abortions in cases when necessary to "preserve the life or health of the mother" and, even though such abortions are never medically necessary, Carhart may be able to persuade a court that’s the case.

"It’s one of the worst written opinions in the Supreme Court history, but, unfortunately, it remains the law of the land," he said. "That’s an exemption you can drive a truck through."

Julie Schmit-Albin, the director of Nebraska Right to Life, told she hopes Bruning will enforce the state law, even if Cargart tries to find a way around it.

"With Nebraska having a post-viability abortion statute we would anticipate that our Attorney General would be diligent in monitoring LeRoy Carhart’s late term abortion practice," she said.

Carhart has said he will open a Kansas-based abortion business doing late-term abortions with other abortion practitioners, that he has investors who will back him, and that former Tiller staff members have expressed an interest in working for him.

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