LeRoy Carhart, subject of True/False Film Fest’s “After Tiller,” is under a preliminary investigation by the Maryland Board of Physicians for his treatment of Jennifer Morbelli, who died on Feb. 7 due to complications from an abortion performed at 33 weeks.
This investigation was confirmed in a letter, dated March 1, from the Maryland Board of Physicians to Operation Rescue. The letter was addressed to Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger, who filed a formal complaint with the board to ensure that Carhart was investigated accurately, due to the fact no other agency looking into the death had jurisdiction in the case.
Operation Rescue is an anti-abortion Christian activist organization. The group has filed previous complaints against Carhart and other doctors in a mission to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates, according to its website. The organization claims responsibility for a clinic closing in Wichita and a complaint that lead to the revocation of Ann Kristin Neuhaus' medical license in Kansas.
The Maryland Board of Physicians will be requesting a response from Carhart and obtaining medical records, according to Operation Rescue’s report. The investigation could take six months or longer.
Sullenger said Carhart showed negligence and unprofessional conduct when he abandoned his patient by leaving the state and not answering calls for help. Morbelli allegedly began suffering from shortness of breath and other symptoms of distress a few hours after her procedure. According to Sullenger’s account of the incident, Morbelli’s family and the hospital she was admitted to were unable to contact Carhart.
Carhart was one of four subjects of “After Tiller,” a documentary that explores the lives of the four remaining doctors in the U.S. who perform third-trimester abortions and are often targets for the anti-abortion movement.
The film was featured in the True/False Film Festival held the last weekend of February in Columbia. Directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson joined psychology professor Phillip Wood and spiritual leader Nancy TannerThies on campus for a commentary on the film.
Shane and Wilson produced the film following the assassination of George Tiller in 2009 when he became the eighth abortion clinic worker to be assassinated since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.