A shot from "After Tiller" (L to R: LeRoy Carhart, George Tiller, Susan Robinson, Shelly Sella)

The ‘Heroes’ of Sundance

This year’s Sundance Film Festival “canonized” the work of late-term abortionists in the United States and gushed unbounded praise and admiration for their heroic “care of women.” The centerpiece of this hagiographic exercise was the documentary film After Tiller, by directors Lana Wilson and Martha Shane.

The movie uncritically portrays the lethal practice of four late-term abortionists: Warren Hern, who performs late-term abortions in Boulder, Colorado; Shelley Sella and Susan Robinson, who do their killing in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the infamous “Butcher of Germantown” (Maryland), LeRoy Carhart.

These “heroes” were all taught the deadly art of late-term abortion by George Tiller. The partisan media has been heaping praise on the horrid reality of abortion, and now we get this: LeRoy Carhart, one of the four “heroes” depicted in the film, was performing a third-trimester on a 29-year-old woman who was pronounced dead in a Germantown hospital on February 7.

This is the work of the heroes of Sundance.

Michael Martelli of the Maryland Coalition for Life was quick to point out what the media and movie-lovers of Sundance are never told. This may not be the first woman who died after one of Carhart’s lethal procedures. Carhart was implicated in the death of Christin Gilbert in Kansas, who was having an abortion at one of Tiller’s clinics, in 2005.

The yet-to-be released After Tiller makes one wonder: who are these filmmakers who have dedicated themselves to glorifying late-term abortion? The mere existence of After Tiller raises another question: who are the people who could be so callous as to sit through 85 minutes of this propaganda? When, or perhaps if, we as a nation wake up from the deadly stupor created by the propaganda of the pro-abortion lobby, what will history and the next generations have to say about us? The institutionalized discrimination against the unborn is corrupting science, politics, and culture in our nation and the world, in a manner chillingly reminiscent of more recent crimes against humanity.

I know Leroy Carhart. I confronted him every Monday morning for over a year at his abortion mill in Germantown. This terrible place is owned by brother and sister Todd Stave and Nancy Samuels of Potomac, Maryland. For over a year, I tried in every way to negotiate and warn Mr. Stave and Ms. Samuels that bringing in a man like LeRoy Carhart would sooner or later result in the death of one of these women in crisis. I have seen them, in the latter stages of their pregnancies, crying, confused, being coaxed into Carhart’s death chamber.

Stave and his sister have a long tradition in the abortion industry. The clinic now staffed by Carhart was left to the brother-sister team by their father, who owned the abortion mill before them. One wonders if a dead woman will cause this lethal pair to cease and desist. It is high time Todd Stave and Nancy Samuels stop hurting the women of Maryland. The carnage they have brought to Maryland exceeds 1,000 babies dead.

Maybe now, upstart film directors Wilson and Shane will come to Maryland to add a final chapter to After Tiller. Carhart has been described to me by his own staff as the “most evil person” they have ever encountered. Even Mr. Stave, who continues to be instrumental in the damage and death of women and babies in Maryland, has described how he loathes Carhart. But I guess Carhart pays the rent.

Does After Tiller report that Carhart’s own staff member had lodged a formal complaint against Carhart for his misrepresentations in his medical license application, or that he conducted risky abortion procedures without any hospital privileges? Does After Tiller report that Carhart has been implicated in multiple botched late-term abortions?

I have stood outside of Carhart’s mill and seen teenagers crying while practically being dragged in. I can only describe the praise from filmmakers Shane and Wilson of Carhart and his practice as a work of fiction. “They’re helping women … they help them grieve for their loss[,]” said Shane. Shane and Wilson should come and grieve with any of the 208 families of women, listed here, who have died from abortion.

Maybe New York Governor Cuomo would like to join them, as analysis by the Catholic Center has shown that Cuomo’s so-called Reproductive Health Bill would permit unlimited late-term abortion on demand. It would also “allow non-physicians to perform abortions” and “preclude reasonable regulations on abortion.” Perhaps Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post, who has been relentlessly cheerleading for Carhart and Todd Stave, the owner of the Germantown abortion facility, would consider joining the upcoming vigil for the tragic death of what may have been Carhart’s most recent victim.

These abortionists are not doctors. Abortion is a corruption of the art of medicine. Carhart – the “Butcher of Germantown,” as he is known in Maryland – has singlehandedly killed over 25,000 babies for money. And yet filmmaker Shane says, “My respect for the doctors has increased tenfold[.]” Carhart, the hero of Sundance, had the gall to say, “At the end of the day, it’s about health care. We are providing a service to women.” A funeral service is what was provided in Maryland last week.

These are the heroes of After Tiller – carrying on, damaging women and killing babies. Robinson, speaking of her mentor Tiller, stated, “We learned at his knee. Kindness, courtesy, justice, love and respect are the hallmarks of a good patient relationship.” How coincidental that both now and when Christin Gilbert died, the hero of Sundance was nowhere to be found.

After Tiller also declines to mention, as reported by Operation Rescue, that in 2009, several of Carhart’s employees filed affidavits with the Nebraska State Attorney General’s Office with details on Carhart’s practices. The attorney general and the Nebraska Department of Health launched investigations into testimony “of Carhart’s unlicensed workers illegally performing medical tasks, illegal post-viability abortions, drug violations, financial malfeasance,” not to mention allegations that there was often “dried blood on medical instruments.” The testimony also indicated that Carhart “had poor hygiene and rarely washed his hands between patients.”

After Tiller, depicting Carhart as a caring medical professional, is a great work of propaganda. During the agony of Christin Gilbert in Carhart’s Nebraska abortion facility, the record shows that when the medics were finally called, Carhart’s staff made sure to tell them, as recorded in the 911 call, “Please, please, please! No lights, no sirens.”

And what did the medics discover in our hero’s facility? They reportedly found Christin Gilbert lying on the floor in a pool of blood, fluids, and coffee grounds “in huge amounts.” But there is more on our hero Mr. Carhart. The medics reportedly found him on top of Christin. It was reported that he was “trying to pump fluids from her stomach. Paramedics reported that they first thought he was a male nurse who may not have known what he was doing. The paramedics ordered Carhart away from the girl but he did not comply[.] … One report indicated that the paramedics may have had to pull Carhart off her.” The report also said that Christin was bleeding from every orifice of her body. So much for the kind, courteous, and loving Mr. Carhart.

I also recall that, as families and children walked prayerfully back and forth at the Carhart clinic on Halloween Day of 2012, Carhart’s staff came out of the clinic with trick-or-treat bags and distributed them to the children, some as young as six years old, and in some cases before their parents realized what was happening. The bags were filled not with candy and sweets, but with condoms and contraceptive devices.

But there is more. Shane and Wilson also forget to mention that Carhart, at one of his facilities in Kansas, maintained an incinerator inside of the abortion facility. There, indoors, he would burn the bodies of his young victims. After our promise that “Never Again” should such horrors be visited upon humanity, we have now tragically rediscovered in the 21st century, with Carhart and company, the smokestacks of human flesh, billowing the remains of innocent human beings, in our so-called “civilized society.” This is the gut-wrenching horror of the daily work of the hero of Sundance.

This is what Todd Stave (also a “star” in After Tiller) and Nancy Samuels have brought to Maryland. Is this what Sundance’s Shane and Wilson need to glorify in their film? LeRoy Carhart has lost all sense of humanity, and, in 15 years as a priest, I have never encountered a more soulless human being. One need only to come to Germantown to see what horrors he perpetrates.

Today, the memory of Sophie Scholl, made memorable in the pamphlets of the “White Rose,” which were secretly distributed during World War II, should reverberate in our souls. Those of us who still have some sense of humanity and solidarity for every member of the human species – regardless of size, stage of development, race, color, religion, gender, or political affiliation – hear her words today. In the midst of a complete eclipse of reason in her beloved Germany, Sophie Scholl’s resistance movement stated: “Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes – crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure – reach the light of day?”

  • Robert Dean Jr

    Thank you for the post Fr. Marcel. One of the things I learned from Project Rachel is how often people will support these extremes (even for abortion) in great part because of an inability and denial in dealing with their own abortion or involvement. Being outside a state of sanctifying grace and without guidance, the devil can lead them without effort, creating a heyday of lies and more murder. Pray for persons such as myself interested in pursuing true art and film which glorifies God.

  • wenzo

    This is a totally crackpot post, full of misrepresentations and outright falsehoods. The woman who tragically died recently was found to have been as a result of a very rare complication of pregnancy and childbirth, not because of her abortion. I would be willing to bet that Mr. Guarnizo hasn’t seen the film After Tiller, which is not a “hagiographic exercise” but a sensitive look at some actual women (and their husbands) who have made the incredibly difficult decision to end their pregnancy, and the doctors who help them. The idea that women are tricked into having abortions would be laughable if it weren’t so condescending, insulting and just plain stupid. Whatever Mr. Guarnizo thinks, women are able to make difficult ethical decisions about what is best for themselves and their families. And by the way, in case he has overlooked these facts – abortion is far safer than childbirth, about 14 times safer to be exact. Abortion is legal. Late term abortion is never “on demand,” but only in extreme cases of fetal abnormality or danger to the health of the mother. The people who perform abortions are doctors – physicians who have actual medical skill and knowledge.The truly evil people are the ones who harass patients and their doctors, who bombard them with baseless complaints, who stalk and murder doctors and clinic staff. They don’t care about children, only fetuses. Mr. Guarnizo and his ilk aren’t out there campaigning against childhood poverty, or for daycare or other support for parents with unplanned pregnancy. They only care about the “pre-born,” not the already born.

    • Chad

      Wenzo: (1.) May I ask what “very rare complication”? – The death did occur during or directly after the abortion procedure at the abortion clinic at the hands of the abortionist after all. (2.) Tricked? – Eyewitness accounts verify that some women have practically been forced into clinics by boyfriends, family, etc. (3.) “Abortion is far safer than childbirth”? – You are twisted. Certainly not safer for the baby and future health ramifications for the mother. (4.) “Abortion is legal”. – So was slavery and exterminating Jews. (5.) Abortion has never been necessary for the health of the mother. (6.) “The people who perform abortions are doctors”. – How many med students begin their studies dreaming “I want to be an abortion doctor? None. Real physicians consider abortion doctors scum. (7.) Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, only 4 abortionists have been murdered, and only one by what could be considered a pro-life activist. The rest by Eric Rudolf anti-government type nutjobs. 8.) “They only care about the “pre-born,” not the already born”. Based on what evidence? Please educate us. This is the lamest cliche yet. Christians/Pro-lifers, etc. are some of the biggest supporters of child adoption and crisis pregnancies (i.e. Crisis Pregnancy Centers).

      • Amy

        I was going to write a response to Wenzo, but you said everything I would have perfectly :)

        And doctors encouraged my mom in the direction of abortion when they did preliminary genetic testing on me (without my parents’ permission) that showed I had a high chance of being born with Down Syndrome. For Wenzo to say that coersion doesn’t happen is ludicrous. Even without the extreme cases, there is an overwhelming tendency in our culture for abortion to be the great fix-all, and that “remedy” is peddled even to those clearly not interested. And then crisis pregnancy centers and adoption are short-changed in the discussions between “doctor” and patient. To someone in a vulnerable situation, that is absolutely coersion.

        • sad

          Amen, Amy

      • Basset_Hound

        Not only of crisis pregnancy centers (which also provide services to families), but of mentoring programs for school kids as well.

    • Wow, you parroted every single worn-out talking point perfectly.

    • Jen

      Wenzo, her autopsy which just came out this week, stated her complications were due to the abortion. Her body had massive.bleeding, which cause large blood clot formations, which proved deadly. The baby’s embriotic fluid also mingled with Jen’s blood system and caused a second life threatening complication. Jen was not treated in time due to negligence of Mr. Carhart and lost her life. As for the CDC’s statistics on maternal deaths, they include numbers of any woman who dies within two years of being pregnant and deam their deaths as maternal. Maternal deaths also include women who die from abortion, comitt suicide after their abortions, women who overdose on drugs while trying to forget about their abortions and numb their emotional pain, women who die in any accident with in two years of being pregnant, and pregnant women who are killed by domestic violence when refusing to abort… All these.thing happen and are much.more common than people realise. My local abortion clinic is responsible for deaths of four women, two were under18yrs. The head nurse has reported on multiple occasions that they have a high suicide rate after abortions. Lastly, my daughter and I are living proof that prolife advocates love BOTH mother and chiuld. My daughter may not be here ttoday if it wasnt for them!!!! I owe them my heart for being there for me when I was 19yrs n pregnant. Planned Parenthood closed early the day I went too them for “help” and I ended up at a crisis pregnancy center instead where I was given hope regarding my situation along with any baby items needed, food, education for parenthood, and so on. My little girl is now 12yrs and is my greatst source of love and inspiration! My life would be empty without her! This world will benefit from her exhistance and she could never be replaced!

    • Carlos Helms

      Talk about misrepresentation! The culture of death has become so commonplace that the wenzos of the world will stoop to any level to excuse it. How those demons treatin’ ya, wenzo?

    • sad

      keep drinking the kool-aid…wenso

  • Peter

    WHERE IS wENSO’S LETTER? How can we comment?

    • JDC

      What? Could you ask that question more clearly?

  • wenzo

    This website clearly has an anti-abortion bias, but I’ll attempt a civil response. I recognize
    that people have strong feelings about abortion, and I believe that everyone has the right to make their own decisions – if you’re against abortion, don’t have one, as the bumper sticker says. And of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own
    facts. So…

    1- According to the Medical Examiner’s preliminary report the death of Dr. Carhart’s patient was caused by“disseminated intravascular coagulation,” or DIS, which is a very rare complication of (among other things) childbirth, C-section, or abortion. In other words being pregnant and becoming un-pregnant by whatever means. You can read more about the mechanics of DIS on the NIH website (google disseminated intravascular coagulation), which lists several other risk factors, including blood transfusion reaction, cancer, sepsis, severe tissue injury as in a burn or head injury. This terribly unfortunate woman’s death was tragic, especially for herself and her husband, but this complication is vanishingly rare and not preventable. According to Dr. Steven Eisenger (a professor of OB-GYN and expert in medical malpractice) it is “kind of the obstetrical equivalent of being struck by lightening, it is usually unexpected, sudden and often fatal.” Yes, she died “following” her abortion but “following” is not the same thing as “caused by” in spite of the many reports on anti-abortion sites using that terminology. Day follows night, but day is not caused by night.

    2- I am sure that there are individual cases of women pressured to have abortions and that is reprehensible, women should make these difficult choices freely. But you don’t see pro-choice protesters outside hospitals and birthing centers harassing the staff or shaming and humiliating patients and violating their privacy for choosing to give birth because of the possibility they won’t be able to care for the baby. Instances of organized coercion against women seeking abortion are orders of magnitude more common. For just one example in Dr. Carhart’s case, an anti-abortion group has rented an office across the street from his Maryland clinic, they intercept women by misrepresenting themselves as clinic employees, taking them into their offices and frequently not letting them leave, pressuring them not to have the abortion until the police are called.

    3- There are many heartwarming stories of babies who were born after the mother or the parents decided against abortion. I know of two myself in my own circle of friends and both have happy endings. But there are also many less heartwarming stories of unwanted babies disposed of in dumpsters, adopted or fostered to abusive homes, “living” in a vegetative or pain-filled state, etc etc. Not to mention many many stories of women who have abortions with no bad after-effects, and in fact consider their decision to be life-saving for themselves. And though there are doubtless cases of women commiting suicide after having an abortion, there is no statistical evidence that this is a likely outcome. In fact the statistics point to women not regretting their decision. According to the Guttmacher Institute, over half of pregnancies in the US are unintended and 22% end in abortion, including miscarriages. One in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20, one in four by age 30, and one in three by age 45. By the way, I myself am in the first category having had an abortion at the age of 17 before Roe v Wade, an experience I do not recommend. I was fine and had no regrets or bad after effects, but I was also lucky. As mentioned before legal abortion is 14 or 15 times safer than childbirth, but illegal abortion is another story. I don’t know how many of you remember the time before Roe v Wade, but many women weren’t as lucky as I.

    4- Culture of death? Given the erosion of access to abortion that has occurred and is occurring, it seems to me that what the culture really does is glorify childbirth. Women are not incubators, or baby machines, they are living breathing human beings with already existing lives of their own. A “pre-born” child is pure potential. Where is the logic that says a potential life is more important than an actual existing life? Women are able to make these difficult, ethically complex, and often agonizingly sad decisions for themselves, in consultation with their families and their doctors. The labels “pro-choice” and“pro-life” are not mutually exclusive, women who have abortions and the doctors who care for them are both.

    • sad

      Wenzo, you would not be here to comment if your mother CHOSE to abort you! I wish people would start thinking outside their own head for once. It’s not all about you. Remember there are always two sides to every situation, if not more.

    • Rebecca Downs

      First of all, it is extremely ironic, that you, a supporter of abortion, would say that not everyone is entitled to their facts. Yet most of what pro-choicers believe is trumped by scientific fact. Also, this article contains much truth. It’s not a “crackpost post,” it just deals with mentioning truths that many are too uncomfortable and/or biased themselves to report.

      When we makes claims about an abortion may be “followed” but not “caused by” it does a great disservice to the victims of an abortion. This poor young woman and her child died “following” an invasive procedure. Whether it’s “following” or “caused by” the abortion had something to do with it. That young woman and very likely her baby, would still be here today if it weren’t for “Dr.” LeRoy Carhart.

      I also have to wonder why is it that some in the pro-choice movement have a problem with the first amendment, specifically, for this post at least, the freedom of assembly. My guess is you haven’t even seen sidewalk counselors or those who peacefully pray outside an abortion clinic. It is an outright demonization of the good things that sidewalk counselors do to say that there is more organized coercion against women seeking abortion. Although I suppose those who coerce their daughters, partners, sisters, friends, mothers of their grandchild aren’t exactly organized and Planned Parenthood isn’t going to do anything about it. They only seem to care if you’re being pressured into having a baby. Also, I say good for the group renting the space across the street. And why do you think they’re so desperate to offer women other alternatives besides an abortion? Because of deaths and even just unpleasant conditions that occur!

      While heartwarming stories are always nice, you can’t expect people to take you seriously on such stories when you’re practically foaming at the mouth against the pro-life movement. And there you go, going into these “less heartwarming stories of unwanted babies…” That doesn’t mean that abortion is ever better! I don’t think you people understand what an abortion is actually like, that the procedures involved are some of the most brutal, excruciating and agonizing forms of torture and death for a child. Women can place their babies up for adoption or even just leave them at a hospital or firehouse or elsewhere. How in God’s name is an abortion supposed to be a better alternative to this.

      And there are “doubtless cases” of suicide? It’s because the abortion industry ignores scientific studies that don’t correlate to them making money and that they so desperately want to place blame on anyone and everyone else that they can. You, are doing a grave disservice to the women who *do* commit suicide in part or because of an abortion. And I have to say, I would probably commit suicide too, knowing that I had my own child ripped out of me and brutally murder. And you may mention whatever you what, but that belief that legal abortion is safer than childbirth is outright false.

      We are absolutely living in a culture of death! It’s becoming more prevalent because it is being denied. We are only one of four nations in the entire WORLD that allows late-term abortion for just about any reason. Our president advocates abortion even AFTER birth. And I say good that the culture glorifies childbirth. Why shouldn’t it? Fertility is natural and if people don’t have children we are going to die off. If you don’t glorify childbirth, then Europe and Asia are welcoming I’m sure. Nobody is calling women incubators, they’re just saying not to murder their own children which they most likely consented to the act that creates them. It is laughable how much people deny responsibility when it comes to children and sex. Women should not be able to make these decisions to murder their children. It’s murder of a life, plain and simple. That is not something you just get the privacy to do between your doctor and your family.

  • Rebecca Downs

    Oh my… what a disturbing, but nevertheless, amazing, insightful and necessary piece. Thank you, Father!