When PARO met Monday, two armed security officers—one in a no-nonsense bullet-proof vest—guarded the meeting-room doors at nearby Westminster Presbyterian Church. This is General Assembly?
It is a strange experience to be sternly scrutinized upon entry and watched like a hawk for suspicious behavior. Reaching for a camera in a bulky bag, one almost expects to hear the nearby click of a cocked .45!
PARO exists as a key Presbyterian organizing group to promote all things abortive. Its message is pretty much all abortion, all the time. Judging from the members of elected entities and other well-placed persons salting the small luncheon audience on Monday, PARO doesn’t lack access to the purveyors of influence, advocacy, and funding within denominational walls.
Singing the praises of late-term abortion
The four dozen in the room hung on every word as LeRoy Carhart, M.D., spoke simply and at times emotionally about abortions performed. His voice would sometimes catch as he told anecdote after emotional anecdote about the women and young girls for whom he provided late-term abortions. He feels strongly about his cause.
In Nebraska, Carhart operates one of the most notorious abortion practices in the country, styling himself a colleague of and successor to the infamous Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, who was cut down in 2009 by a deranged gunman. Hence the armed guards for Carhart.
He offers to abort babies well into viability. From the way he speaks, it is his passion. “Anti-choice legislation hurts women” was his oft-repeated catchphrase.
In addition, Carhart kept claiming that he and others like him had been “subject to anthrax attacks.” It turns out that no anthrax was ever sent, but he did receive hoax letters with harmless white powder.
Contempt for pro-life values
Carhart concluded his formal remarks with a call to abortive arms. “We need an army to destroy the American Taliban!” he urged. “Before Rowe [v. Wade]”—and he paused to regain his composure—“women died in the streets every day!”
Carhart carries a low opinion of those whose convictions cause them to be pro-life. “I know I’m a cynic,” he said, “but I firmly believe their final goal is to take away a woman’s right to vote. It’s really about control of women.” Not an eye in the room batted at such outlandish speculation.
In response to a question from the audience about the possibility of removing the Hyde Amendment that blocks federal funding for abortions, Carhart revealed a little pique directed at President Obama. “A lot of our ‘friends’ [in Washington] are not so friendly,” he disclosed, “including our president. We need to wake up our senators to the fact that the people of America are pro-choice.”
Throwing out some numbers
Using a derogatory term for his pro-life ideological opponents and rather questionable statistics, Carhart claimed that only “seventeen percent of Americans are anti-choice, as we know,” despite what polls may indicate.
Carhart provided a look into abortion statistics when a PARO member expressed concern about “preparing the next generation of abortion providers.” “Not much is being done,” Carhart lamented.
He said that in 1988, there were approximately 2,700 clinics and 2,400 abortion providers. By today, those numbers have plummeted to 1,200 clinics and 1,700 physicians performing abortions. Fewer than ten providers in the country will perform abortions after viability.
“Over the last twenty years,” he said, “hundreds of thousands of abortions have been prevented by better birth control.”
That birth control, however, includes the “morning after pill” that causes spontaneous abortions. “We’re really trying to make abortion not needed,” Carhart proclaimed—with some passion.
One question from the audience induced a moment of Carhart testiness. A woman asked about his experience with how women recover emotionally from abortion. “Most women that have abortions are emotionally recovered by the time they leave the clinic,” he shot back.
Near reverence and sustained applause ensued.