Dr. Warren Hern (second from left in the photo above) is one of the only doctors in the country who is able and available to perform late-term abortions, and he is currently the subject of an investigation by an anti-abortion Congressional panel. It has left the doctor fearing for his life and the lives of his patients. Dr. Hern practices in Colorado, where he recently told the Boulder newspaper the Daily Camera that the investigation has put a "target" on his back.
The 78-year-old Hern works out of the Boulder Abortion Clinic and told the Daily Camera that he believes the investigation is "legislative harassment." In a letter from Marsha Blackburn, a Republican congressperson from Tennessee and chair of the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Select Panel requested a myriad documents and information from Hern to determine if he illegally sold "fetal tissue."
"When they do this kind of thing—this has been the pattern for decades—they identify doctors to be assassinated," Hern told the Daily Camera.
Despite the debunking of slanderous claims made by far right anti-choice groups like the Center for Medical Progress that accused abortion doctors and Planned Parenthood of selling "baby parts" (a.k.a. fetal tissue), Blackburn and the rest of her committee are now chasing after one of the only providers who is able to perform late-term abortions.
"They were really quite fraudulent and inflammatory," Hern told the Daily Camera of the doctored videos. "They were highly edited. It's an attempt to smear physicians and others who offer abortion services."
Hern's fear for his life and his work are not exaggerated. The U.S. has a dark and disturbing history of anti-abortion violence against health care providers, patients, and clinics where abortions are performed. Just last year in Colorado Springs, less than a two hour drive from Boulder, Robert Dear opened fire at a Planned Parenthood, killing three people and injuring nine others in November.
A few days after the presidential election, Hern wrote an essay for STAT, a medical journalism publication, detailing his fears and anguish about a Trump presidency and what it means for abortion rights. Echoing the sentiments he shared with the Daily Camera, Hern wrote, "Under an unrestrained Donald Trump and this Republican Congress, I fear for my life, I fear for my family, and I fear for my future. I fear for my staff and my patients."
Meanwhile, Blackburn is serving on president-elect Donald Trump's White House transition team.