Newsweek's Profile of Late-Term Abortionist Riddled With Misrepresentation

A shoddy and slanted profile of late-term abortionist Dr. LeRoy Carhart by Sarah Kliff in Newsweek magazine contains misrepresentation of the practice of late-term abortion. It also omits a serious episode in the career of Dr. Carhart that resulted in the tragic death of a 19-year-old woman.In writing about the grisly practice of late-term abortion, Kliff falsely claims, "Past viability, no doctor will terminate a pregnancy without a compelling reason." This has been proven completely false in recent testimony by Dr. Paul McHugh, one of the leading psychiatrists in the country, who examined the medical records of patients seen by deceased late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller.Last year, the Harvard-educated McHugh relayed that some women stated that their reasons for wanting a late-term abortion included "not being able to go to a rock concert." According to Dr. McHugh, Dr. Tiller performed late-term abortions for "mostly social reasons." A 2007 must-see interview with Dr. McHugh contained the following exchange:

INTERVIEWER: And did you see anyone's file that justified a late-term abortion by demonstrating that she would suffer substantial and irreversible harm?DR. McHUGH: I saw no file that justified abortion on that basis.

Kliff fails to note that late-term abortionists themselves have admitted that almost all late abortions are purely elective.Dr. Martin Haskell is doctor who has performed late-term abortions. He was recorded on audiotape at the National Abortion Federation conference in San Francisco in March 1996 saying that "[close] to 100%" of late-term abortions are elective:

"We seem to be taking a position that, in the case of the D&X [a procedure often used for late-term abortions], that the fetuses are dead at the beginning of the procedure, which is generally not the case. The second criticism has been that we are really skewing the debate to a very small percentage of women that have fetal anomalies or some other problem that really need the procedure versus the 90% who it's elected, at least through the 20 to 24 week time period; and as you get on up towards 28 weeks, it becomes closer to 100%."

In addition, Dr. Tiller was quoted at the National Abortion Federation conference in New Orleans in April 1995. (I've transcribed Dr. Haskell's and Dr. Tiller's own words from the audio of a CD called "Fire & Ice" (available at Life Dynamics).)

"We have some experience with late terminations. About 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks, and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years."

Do the math. Tiller said that about 8% of his late terminations were for "fetal anomalies." Following reason through Dr. Haskell's premise, the rest are completely elective! (In this case, I'm ignoring the argument that a "fetal anomaly" is a justifiable reason for an abortion. It is not.)Kliff writes that there are "many circumstances" that lead to women seeking abortions, "whether she is that suicidal rape victim or a well-heeled New Yorker who just discovered a fatal fetal defect." From the testimonies of actual abortionists, we can see how misleading Kliff's words are.In her long profile of Carhart, Kliff makes no mention of the fact that he played a key role before the tragic death of a 19-year-old woman with Down Syndrome, Christin Gilbert. Miss Gilbert was 28 weeks pregnant after being sexually abused. According to a must-see study of the case by Operation Rescue, Dr. Carhart attended to Miss Gilbert for her abortion. Three days after visiting Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas (operated by Dr. George Tiller, but Dr, Carhart was there at the time), Christin was dead. According to the autopsy report, she died "as a result of complications of a therapeutic abortion."Why didn't Kliff mention this awful, awful case?

Dave Pierre
Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.