The Nebraska Court of Appeals this week sided with abortion provider Dr. Leroy Carhart who had appealed the eviction of his Bellevue Clinic. In May 2000, abortion opponents, including Nebraska state senator Paul Hartnett, purchased the building that Carhart was leasing for his clinic, and then commenced eviction proceedings against the doctor. Carhart sued Bert Murphy LLC, the partnership that had purchased the building, and Brams Ltd., the original owners of the building, claiming that he had been denied the right of first refusal, the first right to buy the building, guaranteed to him in his lease. The Court of Appeals agreed with Carhart, saying that his right to first refusal was “unambiguous” in the language of the lease and was “in effect at the time Brams Ltd. entered into an agreement to sell the property to Murphy.”
This most recent legal battle began after Carhart successfully challenged Nebraska’s late term abortion ban in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. Carhart is one of few late term abortion providers in the country, though this rare procedure is sometimes necessary to save the lives of women endangered by their pregnancies. Carhart is also one of the few doctors to provide abortions in the state of Nebraska. Currently, 97 percent of counties in Nebraska have no abortion provider.