- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More than 100 pro-life activists rallied Tuesday outside an abortion clinic that opened its doors this week in Bethesda, reigniting a seven-year war to drive one of the nation’s most notorious late-term abortionists out of Maryland.

LeRoy Carhart began performing abortions through all nine months of pregnancy at his Germantown clinic in late 2010. The Maryland Coalition for Life raised enough money to buy the property this fall and force him out of the building. That sale went through Sept. 29.

In an undercover investigation that culminated Thursday, the pro-life group Operation Rescue discovered the abortionist’s new Bethesda location. Pro-life activists immediately flocked to the clinic and began drawing up plans to shut it down.

Michele Hendrickson, eastern regional director for Students for Life of America, said she was “born and raised in Maryland” and has “never been happy that Carhart operates here.”

“I see a lot of familiar faces but, to be honest, I really wish we weren’t here,” Ms. Hendrickson said, addressing the crowd. “I really wish that we were here instead to celebrate the closing of this facility. But I believe that we will all be here again to celebrate the closing of this facility. Because God is on our side. God is bigger, and God always wins.”

The abortionist’s new haunt is in a nondescript, three-story building in a small commercial district tucked into a lush suburb. The building’s other tenants include a pharmacist, a weight-loss clinician and a dentist. Down the street, on Rock Spring Drive, sits Walter Johnson High School.

Protesters were required Tuesday to stand about 100 feet away from the building, across the parking lot, on a patch of grass next to Old Georgetown Road — the plot of public land nearest the building. Cars and trucks passing by occasionally honked their horns in support.

Speakers at a makeshift podium were flanked by a group of uniformed students from the Brookewood School, a private, all-girls Catholic school in Kensington, about four miles away from the clinic. Accompanied by a headmaster, the girls got out of school early to attend the protest.

Ms. Hendrickson said their presence at the rally was a reaffirmation that “abortion betrays women.”

“This is an educational opportunity, because this is their generation’s human rights crisis,” she said. “This is their generation’s human rights cause that they are standing up for.”

Dr. Carhart began performing abortions in Omaha, Nebraska, but was forced out of the state due to the passage of a 20-week abortion ban there.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the upper chamber would take up pain-capable legislation that the House passed this month. President Trump has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Arina Grossu, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, said the Senate needs to “get the job done.” She said fetuses at 20 weeks gestation have the ability to feel pain.

“They have recorded facial responses to pain,” Ms. Grossu said Tuesday. “They can grimace. They can cry. Babies at this stage can also survive outside of the womb. Yet babies in the second trimester at this facility are going to be pulled apart limb from limb, and they bleed to death. Older babies in their third trimesters are going to be given a shot of poison in the heart and then delivered dead.”

Lauren Handy, founder of the pro-life group Mercy Missions D.C., said Dr. Carhart has not procured the requisite license to perform abortions at his new clinic.

“He does not have a lab certificate,” Ms. Handy said. “What does that mean? It means he is in violation of Maryland state law and regulation Title 10 Subtitle 12, where it is required to operate a facility, you must have a lab certificate under the Office of Health Care Quality.”

Under Section of the Maryland Code of Regulations, “A person may not establish or operate a surgical abortion facility without obtaining a license from the Secretary.”

The Bethesda clinic is not listed as one of the surgical-abortion clinics on the Maryland Department of Health’s licensee directory. That list was last updated Oct. 2. Dr. Carhart’s old Germantown clinic is still listed.

A spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

A spokesperson for Dr. Carhart’s facility denied that the clinic is not in compliance with the law. She said the clinic will begin performing abortions this week as scheduled.



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