Amidst growing concern for the safety of providers of abortion services, and particularly for those providers, such as Dr. Leroy Carhart, specifically targeted by groups such as Operation Rescue and the Army of God, Kansas NOW is urging pro-choice advocates to call Attorney General Eric Holder and demand restoration of the federal marshal protection withdrawn two weeks ago by the Department of Justice.
"It is unconscionable that with the recent assassination of Dr. Tiller, and the numerous threats against abortion providers and their clinics, that the DOJ would remove Dr. Carhart’s protection," said Marla Patrick, State Coordinator for Kansas NOW. "We are calling on the Attorney General to reinstate Dr. Carhart’s federal protection immediately."
Women’s rights and health advocates are particularly concerned about the withdrawal of federal marshals from the protection of Dr. Carhart as Operation Rescue mounts efforts to close his Nebraska clinic in late August and as extremist groups that openly support violence, such as Army of God, ratchet up the political rhetoric on abortion care.
Kansas NOW will be counter-protesting the demonstrations outside Dr. Carhart’s clinic being planned for later this month by Operation Rescue (OR), Rescue the Heartland, and Nebraskans United for Life. OR and its colleague organizations are planning to protest at the clinic on Friday August 28th and Saturday the 29th in Bellevue, Nebraska.
"Kansas NOW will assemble to protect and defend Dr. Carhart’s clinic in Nebraska," says a press release from the group. "Kansas NOW also strongly supports his intention to open a clinic in Kansas, as the assassination of Dr. George Tiller has left a noticeable void in meeting women’s healthcare needs in the state."
Kansas NOW’s Marla Patrick stated, “Dr. Carhart provides a lawful and potentially life saving service that is demonized by extremists who hold no respect for women and their rights. The continued harassment and intimidation of physicians like Dr. Carhart and patients seeking healthcare will not go unchallenged.”
Kansas NOW is urging advocates from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska to assist in the defense of Dr. Carhart’s clinic, as well as to pro-choice advocates from throughout the country, asking them to travel to Nebraska for that weekend or to donate funds to assist in defending the clinic.
KSNOW also continues to urge advocates to call on Attorney General Eric Holder to restore federal marshal protection to Carhart. The AG’s office can be reached through this number provided by Kansas NOW, 202-353-1555.