LeRoy Carhart: Secrets of a Late-Term Abortionist

Kindness. Courtesy. Justice. Respect. Love.

They are words that could have been spoken by Christ. He told us that we must love God with our whole selves and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Love is not just a feeling; it’s an action. If you love both God and your neighbor, then kindness, courtesy, respect, justice, and more naturally follow. You will do no harm.

Yet these words above were not words spoken by Christ. They did not come from the Gospels. They are found on the site of an abortion clinic founded by a man who made his living killing preborn babies.

That man was LeRoy Carhart.

Carhart has spent more than 30 years killing preborn babies. And until his death at the age of 81 in 2023, he continued to travel between his abortion clinic in Nebraska and his clinic in Maryland killing babies – many beyond the age of viability.

Carhart was one of only a handful of abortion doctors in the US who performed late-term abortions.

leroy carhart in bbc interview


How LeRoy Carhart Got Started in the Abortion Industry

Before he became an abortionist, Carhart served 21 years in the Air Force, initially training as a pilot. While still in the Air Force, he earned his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia. He later worked as a military surgeon in Omaha, Nebraska. Carhart retired as a lieutenant colonel.

In 1985, after he left the Air Force, Carhart opened an emergency walk-in clinic in Omaha. He and his family settled into a 60-acre farm outside of town.

Two years later, a nurse asked him to spend a day at the abortion clinic where she worked. This was a pivotal point in his life, and one that would change the course of it. He would later recount how the women he spoke with on that fateful day reminded him of patients he had seen many years prior, when he was still a medical student. Many of those patients had gotten botched abortions and suffered terribly from them.

Carhart felt pulled to begin performing abortions, so he immediately sought training at an abortion clinic in Philadelphia. He reportedly performed over 500 in just a four-month period.

After this training, he returned to Omaha and began performing abortions at a friend’s clinic. In 1991, he began aborting children at his own clinic.

carharts bellevue abortuary

Carhart’s Bellevue, NE abortuary

Meanwhile, Carhart associated with other abortion doctors. One of them was the infamous late-term abortion doctor George Tiller. A few years prior to beginning abortions at his own clinic, Carhart had met Tiller at a National Abortion Federation meeting. They struck up a close friendship that would last until Tiller died in 2009.

In 1998, Carhart began committing late-term abortions at Tiller’s clinic. By 2004, he was spending every third week there.


Carhart’s “Late-Term” Abortion Clinics

According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching the sanctity of life, the definition of late-term can vary. The Centers for Disease Control’s abortion surveillance system, however, maintains that a late-term abortion happens after 21 weeks of gestation.

Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, states:

Most late-term abortions are done for the same social reasons that earlier abortions are done. Late-term abortions are much more dangerous for the mother than giving birth. Late-term abortions involve much higher risk of death from the abortion procedure itself, as well as higher risk of perforating the womb, massive bleeding, and damage to the womb. Late-term abortions are only safe for the abortionist, not for the mother, or her child. If a baby has died in the womb, the procedure is not an abortion. The purpose of an abortion is to kill the unborn child to ensure that the child is born dead.

At the time of his death, Carhart had two clinics named CARE – Clinics for Abortion and Reproductive Excellence. One was in Nebraska and the other was in Maryland.

According to Carhart’s site, “We are one of the nation’s only clinics that provide abortion care throughout pregnancy, meaning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-trimester abortion care. We actively recognize the need for the care we provide and are proud to serve our patients with comprehensive abortion care.”

Notice the use of the word care. It is stated four times in two sentences. They seem to want to convince mothers that the killing of their babies isn’t horrific.

HLI's affiliates are training seminarians about life and family issues. They are helping post-abortive women find healing.

HLI’s affiliates are training seminarians about life and family issues. They are helping post-abortive women find healing.

When he was alive, Carhart would travel back and forth between clinics performing abortions. Both are still open today, but following the Dobbs decision, the law in Nebraska is much different than it was when Roe was the law of the nation. In May 2023, Nebraska’s governor, Jim Pillen, signed a 12-week abortion ban. CARE in Nebraska no longer performs surgical abortions, but it does provide the abortion pill. Maryland, however, allows abortions without restrictions, and CARE provides abortions up to 35 weeks there.

CARE also provides what it calls fetal anomaly abortions, meaning abortions of babies who have been diagnosed with a disease or other conditions that might affect their quality of life. The site says: “Many patients request a remembrance of their baby to take home with them.” Baby. LeRoy Carhart admitted he was killing babies; he just didn’t care.

A downloadable brochure for the Bethesda, Maryland, clinic – which is seemingly meant for women who have found that their baby has a fetal abnormality – contains a section that discusses the services his office offers after killing the baby. These include “viewing your baby after the delivery,” “holding your baby after the delivery,” “photographs of your baby,” “cremation services referral,” “footprints,” and more.

Here again in the brochure, we see those words that should evoke comfort. “Kindness. Courtesy. Justice. Love. Respect.” Yet right under them is a quote from George Tiller. This is followed by a line that reads “specializing in second and third trimester abortion care.” And on the site in large, bold letters, we read that women in the Maryland office can now receive “CARE Express medication abortion in 60 minutes or less.”

It’s almost as if they’re likening abortion services to an oil change.

This deceptive use of the word “care” masks the fact that, in each and every abortion, a baby is killed.


Awards and Accolades

Though it’s hard to imagine someone receiving awards for taking thousands of lives, LeRoy Carhart “earned” 18. These include the California Women’s Law Center Pursuit of Justice Award (2007), the NCAP David Gunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Abortion Care Network (2009), the NARAL 2009 Hero Award, and more.

leroy carhart supporters

Debra Sweet, CC BY 2.0

In addition to these awards, Carhart bragged that he trained doctors to perform abortions. He once stated: “I think the only thing I can do….is just train as many doctors as I can to go out on their own and provide abortions and get enough people providing them….That makes [the anti-abortion activist’s] job 10 times harder because there are now 10 times more of us.”

Carhart certainly did his part to make an impact in the field of abortion. That includes attempts to change the law.


LeRoy Carhart and the Supreme Court

In 1997, Carhart filed a temporary restraining order to block a new law regarding partial-birth abortions. He felt the law was unconstitutional. The District Court agreed with him, so the state appealed, but lost. The state then appealed to the Supreme Court, only to lose again in 2000.

Five years later, in 2005, LeRoy Carhart challenged the federal partial-birth abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart—a case that also went all the way to the Supreme Court. This time Carhart lost. According to HLI’s Adolfo J. Castañeda, “On April 23, 2007, the Supreme Court upheld Congress’s ban of the partial-birth abortion method.”

Three years later, in 2010, Nebraska’s governor signed into law two abortion restrictions. One banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the other requires doctors to screen their patients for “risk factors” before performing the abortion. In response, Carhart wrote: “These laws will make it harder for patients to get an abortion when they really need them, when they are under the most desperate of circumstances and even when they are clearly medically, morally and religiously justified. This latest anti-woman and anti-health legislation merely strengthens my commitment to fight for women’s reproductive health and rights.”

And fight for them, he did.

LeRoy Carhart with birthday cake

His staff had a party for his birthday and posted this picture. Look at the sign beside the cake.


Pro-Life Pushback

Because of his work, Carhart often received death threats. Suspicious letters would be sent to his office, and he was stalked when out in public. In 1991, someone set fire to his farm, killing 17 horses, a cat and dog. No one ever took responsibility, and authorities never discovered who set the fire.

Carhart wasn’t the only abortionist targeted. In 2009, a mentally ill man shot and killed George Tiller outside his church one Sunday morning. Desperate to keep Tiller’s memory alive, LeRoy Carhart began offering late-term abortions in his own practice. This prompted a slew of pro-life advocates to protest outside.

The protesters in Maryland wanted to make a huge change. In 2017, pro-life donors were able to raise enough funds to make an offer to Carhart’s landlord to purchase the building. The landlord accepted the offer. He closed the clinic and sold the space to the Maryland Coalition for Life.

Carhart scrambled to find a new place so he could continue killing babies in Maryland. He soon found a building in Bethesda.

That same year, Rachel Cohen, writing for The Intercept, conducted an interview with Carhart at this new location. She wrote admirably: “Carhart is undeniably committed to his work. In addition to the four days he spends working in Maryland, the physician works out of his Nebraska clinic two or three days per week, meaning he spends 26 out of every 28 days on the job.”

Carhart told Cohen: “I just know it needs to be done, and it doesn’t bother me.”


“I Think It Is a Baby.”

In 2019, Carhart was interviewed by Hilary Andersson for a BBC documentary on abortion called America’s Abortion War. He spoke candidly about his lack of remorse for killing babies. “The baby has no input in this as far as I’m concerned,” he said. Andersson seemed shocked that he actually called the baby a “baby” and pressed him on this. He responded: “I think that it is a baby.”

When asked if he had no problem killing a baby, Carhart responded: “Absolutely not. I have no problem if it’s in the mother’s uterus.”

Picture of a baby in the belly of her mother

Carhart then took Andersson to one of the operating rooms and began showing her abortion tools. He held up a pair of forceps and says: “These are the forceps that grabs the part of the fetus and to crush it and bring it out.” She looked appalled, so he tried to justify this gruesome practice by saying: “This baby has been dead for 48 hours. It’s not like we’re crushing a living skull.”

At the end of the documentary, Andersson asked Carhart what he thinks when anti-abortionists call him a killer. He responded: “Their entire goal is to take away a woman’s right to determine her pregnancy level and therefore her ability to be employed, to become successful, to become a functioning part of society. They want the woman to stay home barefoot and pregnant.”

LeRoy Carhart may have believed the lie that all pro-lifers want women to stay home “barefoot and pregnant,” but that is not reality. Furthermore, he wanted people to believe that mothers can’t be functional members of society. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Pro-lifers do care about women. And pro-lifers care about babies. They want every woman to understand that the baby she helped create is a valuable and unique human being. Taking his life is a violent act of murder. And it is an act that many mothers later regret. Pro-lifers do not want to hold women back; they want to empower them to make the choice for life.

But not all mothers make the choice to carry their babies to term. While abortion always has dire consequences for the baby, it sometimes results in the death of the mother as well.


No Repercussions for the Death of Jennifer Morbelli

Jennifer Morbelli was a young wife and mother when she died in 2013 after seeking a late-term abortion at LeRoy Carhart’s Maryland clinic. Morbelli, who was 33 weeks pregnant, had recently learned that her baby had an abnormality. Not wanting their baby to live with this abnormality, she and her husband decided to abort her. They and other family members traveled from their home state of New York to Carhart’s clinic for the four-day abortion procedure.

Morbelli and her family arrived at the clinic on a Sunday. That day, she was given a shot to stop the baby’s heart. On Monday and Tuesday, the staff at the clinic began the process of dilating her cervix so her lifeless baby could be delivered. Morbelli returned each of those days looking sicker and weaker. On Wednesday, after nine long hours at the clinic, her dead baby girl was delivered. The next day, Morbelli began experiencing chest pains, so her family rushed her to the hospital. She died just a few hours later.

The hospital could not initially reach Carhart to garner any information on Morbelli. Eventually, he did speak to someone via phone, but by the time he arrived at the hospital, Morbelli was dead.

After an autopsy, the medical examiner in Maryland listed “amniotic fluid embolism following termination of pregnancy” and “disseminated intravascular coagulation” as the two causes of death. The latter occurs when blood clots form in the blood vessels, which often causes death. Morbelli’s death was listed as “natural,” so Carhart was never held legally responsible for his role in it.

Morbelli was buried with the daughter she went to the clinic to kill.

memorial of Jennifer Morbelli courtesy of Life Institute

Image courtesy of Life Institute


The Death of an Abortionist

On April 28, 2023, LeRoy Carhart died at the age of 81. Prior to his death, he had been in hospice, suffering from liver cancer.

As we reflect on his life and on the evil he committed on a daily basis, let us remember to pray for the repose of his soul. And let us never forget the reason we stand up for the babies. Each baby is a child of God and is loved immensely.

But abortionists like Carhart are children of God too. It is never right or acceptable to respond to abortion violence with our own violence. We must peacefully speak out against the injustice done to babies and their mothers and teach the truth while trying to convert those who see no problem with killing babies.

Prior to Carhart’s death, pro-life advocate Lila Rose tweeted that she prayed for his “deathbed conversion.” Though no reports of that have surfaced in the time since his death, we cannot know what was in his heart those last moments. We do know that God’s mercy is endless and that, if Carhart had sought forgiveness, our Lord would certainly have heard him.


What can Pro-Lifers Learn from LeRoy Carhart?

Speaking about why he continued to perform abortions, Carhart once said: “If we give in, they win, and that’s unacceptable.”

Was it all a game to him, with sides that win and lose? Human life is not a game. That is why we must educate, not only ourselves, but our children. We must keep men like Carhart and his predecessors in the forefront of our minds so that we know what we’re fighting for and who we are fighting against.

As Catholic pro-lifers, we must each take the responsibility to live our faith. We must evangelize when we can, teaching always about the sanctity of life. Abortionists will always be around. But if we stand together, we can build a Culture of Life where people will know the true meaning of words like love, respect, kindness, courtesy, and justice.

Abortions are the antitheses of love, respect, kindness, courtesy, and justice. Abortions kill a baby. Every time.


This article was originally published in October of 2020 and was most recently updated in April of 2024 by Susan Ciancio.

Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. Since 2003, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials, and website content. Fourteen of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of its Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program, an educational nonprofit program for k-12 students.


  1. Dara on April 18, 2024 at 2:55 PM




    Why were Catholics told to soft pedal the anti Roe v Wade protests, and not to “hurt the feelings” of woman who had abortions. Yes, its a special kind of suffering BUT NOWHERE NEAR WHAT THAT POOR SWEET SACRIFICED BABY ENDURES.

  2. Nicole Orendain on May 4, 2021 at 1:04 PM

    Thank you very much for shedding light on all the evils of abortion and the atrocious justifications that are used by pro-abortionists and Culture of Death activists to convince everyone that killing is now compassionate. Their skewed use of language that suits respect for human life and humanity in general is appalling and designed to put softening edges to the atrocities they perpetrate and perpetuate. No matter how they couch and justify their actions, beliefs, values, and sentiments, i cannot be denied, evil reigns in their hearts. Thank you very much, Human Life International, for all the work you do to protect the sanctity and value of human life.

  3. Gina Halbur on November 14, 2020 at 5:21 AM

    I was condemned by my liberal democrat NY cousins for supporting Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. As a mother of 2 adopted babies(now grown young men), I will ALWAYS support and cast my vote for pro-life candidates. I am ashamed that I live in the same state(Nebraska) as this satanic murderer(Carhart). Why can’t we live in a society where ALL stages of life is celebrated? Why can’t some women who can’t be inconvenienced by an unwanted pregnancy choose ADOPTION giving her unborn baby life, and a barren wife(like myself)the opportunity to experience the joys of motherhood? Thank you Susan for your article. All I can do is pray pray pray and say my rosary several times a week for the most vulnerable in our society –the unborn baby. God Help us all

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