Pray for Abortionists Like Leroy Carhart to Stop Killing Babies Before It’s Too Late

Opinion   |   Frank Pavone   |   May 2, 2023   |   10:54AM   |   Washington, DC

Late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart has died. For us who have dedicated ourselves to ending abortion, this causes a cluster of conflicting emotions and thoughts about life, death, compassion, repentance, justice, and mercy.

Here are five things to keep in mind in the light of his passing.

  1. We must judge Carhart’s actions; we cannot judge his soul.Some Christians skip the first part of this exhortation and can’t bring themselves to say this man committed evil; others skip the second part and conclude as a matter of fact that he is in hell.

There is no atrocity greater than killing a baby in the womb. And even most who identify as “prochoice” would be horrified at Carhart’s willingness to kill healthy babies of healthy mothers at 26 weeks and beyond. Listen, for instance, to this recorded phone call to one of his facilities.

This, and the other atrocities he committed as we will describe below, is all we need to know to be a light to the world, a watchman for the nation, and a witness against what Carhart did. We do not need to know the inner state of his soul or the condition of his relationship with God at the time he died. That’s above our pay grade and not relevant to our mission at hand, which is to end abortion.

  1. Carhart’s legacy of death was multi-faceted.

You can’t practice vice virtuously. If your conscience is so disfigured that you will kill little babies, then you won’t be bothered by killing mothers, too, and that’s exactly what Carhart did. We recall the sad case of Jennifer Morbelli, the 29-year-old kindergarten teacher from White Plains, New York, who died because of Carhart’s negligence.

We knew he was dangerous. He falsified information he gave to the Maryland Board of Physicians on his application for his medical license there. Various pro-life groups (including Priests for Life and Operation Rescue) sounded the alarm at that time.


Carhart also defended, right up to the US Supreme Court, the practice of partial-birth abortion. His name is attached to two Supreme Court cases, one of which struck down the Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortion in 2000, and the other one which upheld the federal ban on the procedure seven years later.

  1. Abortionists are not the enemy; they are captive to the enemy.

Dr. Philip Ney, a Canadian psychiatrist, has pioneered the research into what leads people to become abortionists, and how we lead them on the path to repentance, healing and recovery. The Society of Centurions is an international group of such medical professionals who once killed babies, but who, like the Centurion at the cross of Jesus, came to realize that “Surely, this was an innocent man!” (Lk. 23:47).

I have been privileged to work with many such abortionists, starting with Dr. Bernard Nathanson, and including gatherings of former abortion workers who, seated in a small circle on a healing retreat, had been responsible for taking half a million lives!

Sadly, Carhart was never among this group. But his death should be a motivation for all of us to pray for the conversion of all abortionists and to speak loudly and clearly that invitation for conversion.

It is OK to feel relief that Carhart cannot do any more destructive activity. Yet we would much prefer that this would have happened through conversion while he was still alive. Abortionists aren’t the enemy; they are captive to the enemy. Our goal is to set them free.

  1. There are many more Carharts.

Don’t believe the other side when they tell you there are only three or four late-term abortionists in America. There are many who operate in the shadows rather than imitate LeRoy Carhart, George Tiller, and Curtis Boyd, who did not hesitate to wear their late-term abortion practice on their sleeves.

Years ago I participated in a project with Mark Crutcher by which we got abortionists to fill out a survey regarding their abortion practice. And it’s sobering. Some 11,000 abortions per year in America are done after 21 weeks of pregnancy. They are not happening by themselves.

  1. As long as abortion continues, late-term abortion will continue.

Our movement is rightly calling attention to the vastly expanding phenomenon of chemical abortion. But that will never make surgical abortion – and late-term abortion – disappear.

Abortions late in pregnancy, even after viability, occur for several reasons. Some women are in such deep denial, and are so unaware of their own bodies, that they do not even realize they are pregnant until late in the pregnancy.

Others, battling with the ambivalence in their own minds and hearts, and the pressures of those around them, simply cannot make a decision, and the in meantime, the pregnancy continues to progress.

Still others go through most of their pregnancy ready to welcome the birth of the child, and then their social, financial, or medical situation changes late in the game and they feel they can no longer continue the pregnancy.

Moreover, the abortion industry is not going to easily abandon the practice of late-term procedures that can cost $25,000 each and bring in additional money from the sale of body parts. Sadly, as long as the abortion industry exists, there will be more Carharts.

But there will also be more of us, who know how to respect and defend every human life, who know how to fight for the baby, provide for the mom and dad, and work to free the abortionists themselves from the evil that destroys them too.

As I walked into a pro-life banquet at which I was speaking one night, pro-abortion protestors yelled at me, “Why do you hate us?!” As I began my talk, I responded to their question by saying, “We do not hate you. What you advocate is destroying you, and we are trying to free you from that. If we hated you, we would leave you alone.”

May that be the lesson of LeRoy Carhart’s passing. Note:  Frank Pavone is the national director for Priests for Life.