What Would That “Good Reason” Be?

Newsweek profiles LeRoy Carhart, one of the few remaining doctors capable and willing to perform late-term abortions. Given the small number of doctors willing to perform this service, Carhart is making efforts to train more of them:

He’s fielded calls from three physicians who want to learn how to do abortions. Two have already begun training. “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,” says Carhart. “That makes [the anti-abortion activist’s] job 10 times harder because there are now 10 times more of us.”

Not surprisingly, Focus on the Family doesn’t approve:

Carrie Gordon Earll, senior bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said that may be easier said than done.

“Many obstetrics and gynecology residency programs offer abortion training, yet the number of physicians willing to do abortions doesn’t seem to be on the increase,” she noted. “It’s not a preferred profession or even sideline for most doctors, and for good reason.”

And what would that “good reason” be for why doctors might be reluctant to provide this sort of service? Presumably, Earll thinks they have some sort of moral opposition to it, but the real reason probably has more to do with the fact that they would prefer not to be routinely harassed, vilified, and even murdered:

Carhart knows there are people who want him dead, too. A few days after Tiller’s murder, Carhart’s daughter received a late-night phone call saying her parents too had been killed. His clinic got suspicious letters, one with white powder. It’s been like this since Carhart started performing abortions in the late 1980s. On the same day Nebraska passed a parental-notification law in 1991, his farm burned down, killing 17 horses, a cat, and a dog (the local fire department was unable to determine the fire’s cause). The next day his clinic received a letter justifying the murder of abortion providers. His -clinic’s sidewalks have been smeared with manure. Protesters sometimes stalk him in airports … A wave of anti-abortion violence in the 1990s—three doctors killed in five years—coincided with a dramatic drop in providers, from 2,680 in 1985 to 1,787 in 2005.