Anti-Choicers Fail in Effort to Re-Zone New Kansas Clinic


Anti-choice activists have been trying every means possible to keep the pro-choice group Trust Women from re-opening the clinic previously owned by Dr. George Tiller. Operation Rescue filed a complaint claiming South Wind Women’s Center didn’t pull the permits necessary for reopening the office was filed by Operation Rescue, and protesters have been putting near daily pressure on Trust Women’s Julie Burkhart to end efforts to bring safe abortion care back to the city.

Now they’ve failed again. An effort to urge the city to re-zone the clinic has been rejected by the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. Kansas Right to Life development director David Gittrich blames a blizzard and the commission’s decision to have the meeting regardless of the bad weather conditions as the reason his plea failed. “There would have been a huge crowd show up if it had been a nice day. Most people thought the city was closed, and it looked to those of us who were there like it was,” Gittrich told the Wichita Eagle.

Gittrich appeared at the meeting with 14,000 signatures on a petition asking that the area be re-zoned to avoid the police activity that the clinic was subjected to when it was previously open. It’s an ironic claim given that these events were the result of harassment of Dr. Tiller’s clinic by local and national anti-choicers. Using a history of conflict and violence provoked by their own allies as a reason to keep the clinic from re-opening is brazen in itself, and the recent activities by anti-choice groups in Wichita show they have no qualms about stoking the flames again.

Because they failed in their claims about missing construction permits, Operation Rescue and its allies have broadened their focus to include harassment of those who are providing services to the clinic as it reopens. A recent call to action for followers to “respectfully call and ask Air Capital Electric to stop working for Julie Burkhart and the proposed South Wind Women’s Center,” is little more than a coordinated attack to strong-arm contractors out of working for the clinic. It’s just one step closer to the type of harassment Burkhart has been experiencing almost daily, often at her own home.

Yet she and the other supporters of South Wind aren’t stepping back. I spoke with Burkhart briefly at a conference in Oklahoma, where she was still eagerly looking forward to the clinic’s reopening. Soon, the women of Wichita will have access to many of the same reproductive health care options as they did prior to Dr. Tiller’s death, and without having to travel to Kansas City to obtain it.

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  • crowepps

    These are terrorist tactics, and I would hope any American who respects freedom and democracy would withstand them. It’s outrageous that a bunch of religious fanatics want to remove women’s options for preventing pregnancy and force women who don’t want to be pregnant to stay pregnant anyway.

    They’re certainly free to continue to purse their lips disdainfully, sneer at others as ‘less moral than I’, and loathe women’s freedom to control their own lives; the rest of us are free to disagree with them and ignore their ridiculous demands.

    • Janine

      I’ll miss you crowepps. I learned so much from your comments. We were fortunate to have you here on RH Reality Check. I’m privileged to have met you online, yet wish it could have happened in person too. You were amazing!

      • Harry834

        Crowepps,

        Thank you for your voice and your life. Thank you for all you’ve done politically and personally for the freedom of others, including animals. It’s sad that you are gone from this world, but we will remember you. I am glad I got to see your face on Facebook. I’m sure we would have hugged tight if we met.

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