LeRoy Carhart travels from his home in Nebraska almost every week to perform abortions at a clinic in Germantown, Md. He rarely stays at the same hotel twice. He rolls dice to pick the route he’ll take to work, because “the biggest part of security is not being predictable,” he said.
As one of the few doctors in the nation who openly acknowledge performing abortions late in a pregnancy, and because he wants to expand his services, Carhart is the top focus of antiabortion groups. He took on that role after Kansas doctor George Tiller, his friend and mentor, was fatally shot by an abortion opponent in 2009. Tiller was attending church at the time — the only predictable event in his schedule.
In a wide-ranging interview last week — his first extensive comments since he began traveling to Maryland in December — Carhart, 69, discussed his work, his plans to broaden health-care and social services to include adoption counseling, and security measures that he and his staff members take.
Carhart, a grandfather and retired Air Force general surgeon, has an understated manner, speaking so softly that he can barely be heard. His voice was weary at the end of a recent workday as he went over logistics with his wife, Mary, a straight-talking former schoolteacher who helps manage the clinic. During a takeout dinner in the hotel lobby, and later in his room, he became visibly angered, his eyes hardening, while describing what he called “ridiculous” abortion restrictions nationwide. Kansas regulates the size of janitorial supply closets. South Carolina regulates how grass is cut outside clinics.Continue Reading on mobile.washingtonpost.com