Gosnell Award: Prominent Abortionist Works Hard to Prove “Legal” Is Far from Safe

Alexandra Snyder

Life Legal is assisting in two cases of medical malpractice against notorious late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart and his associates.

In both cases, the women found Carhart through his website, abortionclinics.org, which boasts of “specializing in 2nd and 3rd trimester abortion care.” Carhart, who is over 80 years old, operates two abortion mills—one in Nebraska, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks, and one in Maryland, where abortion laws are much more lenient. While Maryland law restricts abortions after the age of viability, the law also includes a sweeping exception for cases where the physical or mental health of the mother is at risk.

On May 11, 2020, Carhart employee and abortionist Elizabeth Swallow placed a young woman under anesthesia to complete a late-term abortion, even though the woman was not sufficiently dilated. The woman woke up and started screaming in pain and was immediately put under again. Swallow had unknowingly perforated the woman’s uterus, causing profuse bleeding.

Carhart was called in to assist, but was unable to help the woman. Eventually she had to be transferred to the hospital. By the time she arrived, her blood pressure was dangerously low and she was having trouble breathing. Physicians at the hospital discovered that the woman’s bowel had also been perforated, requiring the removal of about 1500cc (1.5 quarts) of blood. She had to have a complete hysterectomy.

Just over a week later, on May 20, 2020, another woman started bleeding heavily after Anh-Chi Dang Do, an associate of Carhart’s, started the abortion procedure. The woman was told her baby had Down syndrome and should be aborted. During the abortion, the woman complained about pain, but the abortion workers reassured her that the bleeding and pain were “normal.” Soon, however, the abortionist and his staff became covered in blood.

Once again, Carhart was called in to assist and was unable to stop the bleeding. By the time the abortionists finally decided to call an ambulance, the woman was in critical condition, having suffered excessive blood loss. Physicians at the hospital discovered the baby’s head and upper body intact, with the arms and left leg having been ripped off by the abortionist. Because of the woman’s extensive injuries, she too had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy.

A board-certified OB-GYN who is serving as an expert witness in the case reported that the woman had an extremely dangerous condition that is known to cause fatal hemorrhaging. Carhart and his colleagues should have been able to detect this and warn the woman that an abortion was extremely risky under the circumstances. Instead, they took her money and happily proceeded to dismember her baby.

The expert also stated that the abortionists administered the pain killers Versed and Fentanyl “in excessively high doses” and did not properly monitor the woman while she was sedated.

The lawsuits allege that Carhart and his staff not only committed medical malpractice, but failed to adequately inform both women of the profound risks inherent in late term abortions, including uterine puncture and rupture, excessive bleeding, and damage to internal organs.

You may be familiar with the name Leroy Carhart because of two U.S. Supreme Court cases that bear his name. In 1997, Carhart challenged Nebraska’s Partial Birth Abortion law, which prohibited abortionists from partially delivering a live baby and then killing the baby before completing the delivery of the now dead baby. In 2000, the Supreme Court held that the law was unconstitutional in part because it did not include an exception that would allow the barbaric procedure in cases where the mother’s health was in danger. The decision was written by recently retired Justice Stephen Breyer.

In response, Congress passed the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which also did not include a “health of the mother” exception. The government in that case argued that the procedure was gruesome, inhuman, and never medically necessary.

In 2006, in an opinion written by former Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court held that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was constitutional and did not impose an undue burden on access to abortion even without a health of the mother exception. The Court cited numerous reports from abortionists who had performed partial birth abortions, including the graphic eye-witness testimony of a nurse:

“The baby’s little fingers were clasping and un-clasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp.”

The baby was 26½ weeks gestation. He or she would have been over 13 inches long and weighed over two pounds.

Justice Kennedy concluded that partial birth abortion “is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.”

We would like to make clear that while we find the treatment of women by Leroy Carhart and is associates to be abhorrent, the purpose of the lawsuits against the abortion butcher is not to make abortion safer for women. Our goal is to finally put Carhart and his murderous ilk out of business.

[Published in Spring 2022 issue of Lifeline.]