The Feminist Majority Foundation joined pro-choice supporters nationwide in announcing their full support of Dr. Leroy Carhart and the Abortion and Contraception Clinic of Nebraska at a press conference in Omaha, Nebraska today. Pro-choice supporters from 16 states are defending the clinic. Dr. Carhart had traveled to Wichita each month to work with Dr. Tiller, who was assassinated in May.
Katherine Spillar, Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, joined Dr. Carhart and national pro-choice leaders including Terry O’Neill, National President of the National Organization for Women, at the Omaha press conference today. NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Abortion Federation, and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health also joined in support. “Anti-abortion extremists are trying to win on the streets what they have lost at the ballot box,” said Spillar. “The Feminist Majority Foundation and its thousands of supporters nationwide are determined to defend Dr. Carhart and his courageous staff to keep this clinic safe and open.“
The pro-choice press conference today in Omaha was in direct response to Operation Rescue of Wichita initiating targeted demonstrations and so-called “street counseling” in Omaha and at Dr. Carhart’s Bellevue clinic this weekend. Troy Newman of Operation Rescue has announced a new multi-group campaign called “Keep it Closed,” which aims to ensure Dr. Carhart does not open a late-term abortion clinic in Wichita, in any other place in Kansas, or in nearby Nebraska. Newman expressed his hope that “through the use of peaceful, legal means”, Dr. Carhart “w[ould] soon be out of the abortion business for good.”
The Nebraska State Health Department has confirmed that a complaint was filed by several anti-abortion groups, including Operation Rescue, against Dr. Carhart on many of the same allegations previously used to investigate Dr. Tiller. All such complaints filed against Dr. Tiller ultimately failed.
Dr. Carhart stated emphatically at the press conference that all patients will be seen today. Wearing a “Trust Women” button, he asserted he would not be intimidated, and that he knows he provides a vital medical service.
Katherine Spillar continued, “In this country, we must not settle political differences of opinion by what amounts to a campaign of intimidation.”
“Since the election of President Barack Obama, and now even more so since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller at his church in Wichita, Kansas, threats are escalating against abortion clinics in some 14 states,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “For example, in Colorado, Donald Hertz has just been indicted for threatening Dr. Hern and his family. The constant vilifying of reproductive health providers as murderers is not only inflammatory, but is also contrary to established medical practices that save women’s lives. Worse yet, it emboldens potential assassins.”###
The Feminist Majority Foundation conducts the largest project in the United States to reduce violence and intimidation against abortion providers and to keep clinics safe and open.