This is the first installment of a five part series, “Abortion Capital” delving into the business of lucrative late-term abortions in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Abortion Capital, Part 1: The Wild, Wild West
Albuquerque, NM – Texas abortionist Curtis Boyd, who admits he committed illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade, has positioned himself to replace slain abortionist George Tiller as the “go to” man for the most controversial – and most profitable – of abortions, those done in the late-terms of pregnancy on viable babies who are able to survive outside the womb.
“Boyd has the personality hallmarks of most late-term abortionists with whom we are familiar. He is arrogant and believes he is above the law, as evidenced by his own confessions to illegal abortions prior to 1973. He’s an ideologue who will do abortions no matter what the law says or who gets hurt in the process. He admits he knows he’s killing, but doesn’t care. Abortion is his identity. In these ways, he is very much like Tiller,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
Boyd as Tiller’s Back-up Plan?
For years, Boyd has operated two abortion clinics, one in Dallas, Texas, and the other in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Around January, 2009, Boyd moved into a new, larger facility in Albuquerque, one that could handle the particular needs of a late-term abortion facility. During this time, Tiller was in court defending against criminal charges involving 19 counts of illegal late-term abortions. A well-publicized hearing that month failed to dismiss the charges and Tiller was ordered to stand trial in March of that year.
Between the January hearing and the trial in March, 2009, actions were taken to disband Tiller’s political action committee, ProKanDo, once considered the largest and most influential in the state. Its founding director, Julie Burkhart, who also served as Tiller’s media spokesperson, left for a new position in another state the following month. Tiller depended on his PAC to buffer him from abortion laws that would have limited or halted his profitable late-term abortion business, where he was charging between $5,000 and $20,000 for each procedure. The disbanding of ProKanDo was a strong indication that Tiller was considering bringing his abortion business to an end.
“We believed that Tiller was making provisions to close his abortion practice in the event he was convicted of the crimes,” said Newman. “Even though Tiller was acquitted on the criminal counts, he still faced license revocation based on 11 counts filed against him by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts based on our complaint. If Tiller had lived, it is very likely that he would have had his license revoked or he could have retired from practice to avoid discipline. In any case, that would have been the end of Tiller’s late-term abortion business.”
It is possible that Boyd, who was friends with Tiller, was considering making a move into the extremely lucrative late-term abortion business months before Tiller’s death, possibly as a prearranged back-up plan in the event Tiller’s legal woes prevailed. In any case, Boyd had positioned himself as Tiller’s replacement.
But someone forgot to tell LeRoy Carhart.
Carhart’s Plans Crumble
After Tiller’s murder on May 31, 2009, Carhart, one of Tiller’s former employees, LeRoy Carhart, made an unsuccessful play to keep Tiller’s abortion clinic open. The Tiller family instead closed the clinic for good. Carhart then promised to open his own late-term abortion mill in Kansas as a replacement for Tiller’s clinic. Operation Rescue mounted successful opposition that blocked Carhart’s move.
OR worked with Nebraska pro-life groups to launch efforts to expose and stop Carhart’s back-up plan to begin late-term abortions in Bellevue. This resulted in two important events. Former Carhart’s employees submitted sworn affidavits to the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Health describing illegal activity they witnessed while in Carhart’s employment. Both offices opened investigations that are ongoing.
Secondly, it prompted the Nebraska Legislature to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions after 20 weeks gestation in that state. Scheduled to go into effect in October, this law would end Carhart’s hopes of crowning himself as the new king of post-viability abortions.
While Carhart was futilely attempting to assert himself as Tiller’s heir apparent in the late summer of 2009, Boyd was working quietly behind the scenes to secure Tiller’s profitable late-term abortion network.
In September, 2009, two of Tiller’s former abortionists, Shelley Sella and Susan Robinson, applied for medical licenses in New Mexico for the purpose of working at Boyd’s Southwestern Women’s Options.
“It just seems like everything Carhart touches turns to dust. It is interesting that he was left out of Boyd’s new late-term abortion enterprise. To hire on with Boyd and the other two former Tiller abortionists seemed like the likely scenario for him, but we got the impression from our experiences in Wichita that nobody liked Carhart. Clinic workers had told us he was lazy and unpleasant. Couple that with his mounting legal problems, and it is easy to conclude that Carhart was not a desirable business partner or associate. Maybe that is why he got left behind,” said Newman.
Why New Mexico?
During this time, Boyd was also reopening an abortion clinic in Dallas, Southwestern Women’s Surgical Center, which would offer abortions to 24 weeks, the legal limit in Texas. However, with the death of Tiller, Boyd wanted to move into doing even more controversial abortions on viable babies – some just weeks or days before birth. Those could not be done in the more conservative state of Texas.
“New Mexico is still very much the wild west as far as abortion laws are concerned. Right now, anything goes,” said Newman.
Abortion laws are virtually nonexistent in New Mexico, Boyd’s second home. Albuquerque is considered a liberal bastion in a very blue state run by a pro-abortion governor and legislature. He would have political protection there without the encumbrances of regulations or limits on late-term abortions. Pro-life protesters were focused on other abortion clinics in town and rarely visited his clinic. It was the perfect location to expand his abortion business.