A Mills County resident who serves as the minister of a Council Bluffs church told the Glenwood City Council last week that he believes the community is on the radar of Dr. Leroy Carhart as a potential site for a late-term abortion clinic.
Rev. Lonnie Parton addressed his concerns at the regular meeting of the city council last Tuesday, Dec. 14.
Carhart, who operates a clinic in Bellevue, Neb., where abortions are performed, has announced his interest in opening a late-term abortion clinic in Council Bluffs. In October, a Nebraska law went into effect that bans nearly all abortions after a pregnancy has reached 20 weeks. The state of Iowa currently has no such law.
Carhart’s talk of opening a clinic in Council Bluffs has generated controversy and opposition. Parton told council members that he’s learned from a “good source” that Carhart doesn’t care to have his clinic in the city limits of Council Bluffs, and he might be looking at Glenwood or Mills County.
Parton said Carhart opened a clinic in Germantown, Md., earlier this month and has no problem with locating his clinics in rural areas because his patients often travel hundreds of miles to have an abortion performed.
Parton said scientific evidence suggests that fetal pain can be felt inside the mother’s womb at 20 weeks and after and he believes Glenwood and Mills County residents would not want to see Carhart open a clinic in their community.
He encouraged the city council to “make the environment around Glenwood uninviting” to Carhart.
There was no discussion of Parton’s comments at the meeting, but council member Kay LeFever thanked Parton for bringing his concerns to the city.
The city of Glenwood’s code enforcement officer, Jim Webel said in a telephone interview after the meeting that should Carhart or any other doctor want to open a clinic in Glenwood, there would be little the city could do to prevent it under current law.
“It would be classified as a medical clinic,” Webel said. “As long as he’s in a specific zone that allows it - and really that’s anything other than a residential.”