Crime

Abortion provider Dr. Warren Hern: Trial for man who threatened him gives platform for "fascist ideology"

Last August, we told you about an indictment against Donald Hertz, a Washington man who made threats against Boulder's Dr. Warren Hern, the last practitioner in the U.S. still doing late-term abortions.

It looked as if Hertz would plead guilty to the charges against him -- but yesterday, he unexpectedly asked for a jury trial.

Hern doesn't seem overly concerned about this turn of events. "He's entitled to a jury trial," he says. "That's the law, as far as I know." But because of this development, he's reticent to discuss the case in detail -- although he makes it clear that such threats are nothing new.

"I got my first obscene death threats in the middle of the night for doing abortions in 1973, two weeks after I started doing abortions fulltime in Boulder," he says.

Since then, in Hern's view, "it's only gotten worse. Anti-abortion fanatics will stop at nothing, including assassination" -- a clear reference to the murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller. Hern was friendly with Tiller, and after the murder, he reportedly began seeing some of Tiller's former patients.

"This is a violent terrorist movement," Hern maintains, "and a trial gives them a platform for their fascist ideology."

A point he may well get a chance to make before a judge a jury.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts