LeRoy Carhart, one of the few physicians in the country to openly provide late-term abortions, will begin practicing in Germantown, Md. next week. Carhart announced plans earlier this month to expand his reproductive health practice to the D.C. metro area, but initially declined to reveal the exact location of the new clinic, citing security concerns.
Today, the National Abortion Federation confirmed that Carhart will partner with Reproductive Health Services' Germantown clinic, located 30 miles north of Washington. Carhart's move to the clinic, planned for Monday, Dec. 6, "will certainly help to expand access to reproductive health care for women," NAF President and CEO Vicki Saporta says.
Reproductive Health Services, which has locations in Germantown and Hyattsville, already provides surgical abortions into the 19th week of pregnancy. Saporta said that Carhart will provide abortions "beginning at six weeks" and continuing "through the second trimester" (the second trimester encompasses weeks 13 through 27). Saporta added that Carhart "certainly could be" providing abortions past the 19 week limit currently in place at the clinic. (To many, abortions performed after the 20th week of pregnancy are considered "late term"). Carhart could not immediately be reached for comment.
Carhart previously provided abortions in Nebraska, where a recent law banned the procedure past 20 weeks of pregnancy. At the time, Carhart said the law would "seriously jeopardize women's health under the awful pretense of protecting them"; six months later, he announced plans to open several new clinics across the country. This month, the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, placed special restrictions on one city-owned lot in an attempt to prevent Carhart from establishing a new clinic in the area. But in Maryland, where abortion laws are considered among the country's most permissive, Carhart may be more likely to see his opposition materialize in pickets, not legislation.
Area anti-abortion activists began plotting to protest Carhart's new clinic earlier this month, waiting on the exact address of the clinic to finalize their plans. Today, anti-abortion group Operation Rescue—a main critic of the proposed clinic—published the address of Carhart's new practice. "There's no such thing as a secret abortion clinic," Operation Rescue president Troy Newman told me. He plans to counter Carhart's clinic with a "serious physical presence."