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Anti-abortion groups to continue protesting outside Carhart’s clinic, demanding stricter abortion clinic regs

The end is near for the first week Summer of Mercy 2.0, the anti-abortion rights protest targeting Dr. LeRoy Carhart’s abortion clinic in Germantown, Md., where abortions are performed on women who are more than 22 weeks pregnant.

In prayer rallies and speeches this week, the Summer of Mercy sponsors have frequently referred to Maryland as “the Wild West of the abortion industry” for its dearth of abortion regulations compared with other states. But that might change soon enough. The Summer of Mercy sponsors had planned to protest at the Maryland State Capitol in Annapolis on Wednesday and U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office on Thursday and demand for increased abortion-clinic regulations generally and scrutiny into Carhart’s clinic in particular.

However, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has drafted new regulations for surgical abortion to go into effect once the regulations are reviewed by interested parties, including Planned Parenthood of Maryland and the Maryland Catholic Conference, and then adopted. The public has been invited to give input on the draft regulations (PDF) until Aug. 19.

In the current draft, doctors at surgical abortion clinics would have to ensure that every patient has a physical exam and that all clinic workers are properly licensed and trained. A plan for emergencies would have to be furnished.

The new regulations were sparked by a recent incident where a woman was severely injured during an abortion at a clinic in Elkton, Md., which was run by an unlicensed physician, according to The Gazette.

The Summer of Mercy protest led Carhart to cease all abortions at the Germantown clinic this week. In response, the anti-abortion rights protesters have planned gather outside the clinic on Monday and perhaps throughout the week.

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman recently wrote in a blog post: “As men and women of faith, we are compelled to remain at our post. We will stay in Germantown begging for God’s mercy, until the killing ends for good.”

Carhart’s staff was not available for immediate response on whether abortions would resume next week.

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