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LeRoy Carhart dἰed at the age of 81. He was a well-known and controversial doctor who was known for doing late-term ab0rtions. His family posted on social media that he passed away on Friday (April 28), but did not specify the cause of deἀth.
His daughter Janine Weatherby said in a Facebook post –
“Dr. Carhart will be deeply missed by family, friends, colleagues, and patients.”
“Lee had a very simple belief that patients know what is best for their life plan and was there to support them.”
In an email to NPR, Ashley Edwards, a manager at a CARE clinic in Pueblo, Colorado, which was founded by Carhart’s grandson, confirmed his passing.
Carhart had been doing ab0rtions for 50 years, and this made him a target for people who were against ab0rtion and didn’t like the way he did things. As the medical head of Clinics for Ab0rtion and Reproductive Excellence (CARE), Carhart and his wife Mary ran two clinics in Nebraska and Maryland that specialized in second and third-trimester ab0rtion care.
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According to his biography page, Carhart served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years as a surgeon before leaving as a lieutenant colonel. In Omaha, Nebraska, he established an emergency walk-in clinic in 1985.
Carhart was one of the few doctors in the country who did ab0rtions after the first trimester. During his work, his life had been threatened more than once. In 1991, Carhart’s farm burned down on the same day that Nebraska passed a rule that said minors must tell their parents if they want an ab0rtion.
According to Newsweek, 17 horses, a cat, and a dog perished in the fire, and the local fire department was unable to ascertain the cause. The next day, his clinic got a letter that said ab0rtion workers should be kἰlled, the magazine said.
The threats only made him more determined, and in 1992 he opened his first ab0rtion center. In 1997, Carhart filed a temporary restraining order against Nebraska’s attorney general in a case he took all the way to the Supreme Court.
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He did this to stop the state from enforcing a ban on what anti-ab0rtion campaigners called “partial-birth” ab0rtions, which are usually done in the second trimester.
In June 2000, the Supreme Court said that the ban was against the Constitution. This meant that Nebraska and 31 other states had to change their laws.
In an interview with Michel Martin of NPR in 2010, Carhart said that he is “as pro-life” as anyone who is against ab0rtion. He said –
“In a perfect world, I believe there could be a reason for no ab0rtions.”
“But unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. And unfortunately, these same people that protest ab0rtions are also against all of the things that would help reduce the frequency of ab0rtions, including early education about s*x, early education about the use of birth control, availability of birth control, availability of school education about intercourse and about s*x.”
The Colorado clinic manager, Edwards, said in a statement that CARE clinics will continue their commitment to the Carharts’ enduring mission to provide ab0rtion care and community access.