If you pay attention to the news, you’d hardly know that a record 70% of Americans now support Roe v. Wade. You’re probably too distracted by Republican pro-life shenanigans at the state level to pay the national consensus any mind. Well – it’s true. The country is now overwhelmingly in favor of Roe v. Wade. I can’t think of any better way to mark this victory than by the reopening of Dr. George Tiller’s abortion clinic.
The Wichita, Kansas clinic that Dr. Tiller ran before he was fatally shot will soon reopen under the direction of one of his colleagues, Julie Burkhart. Tiller was Burkhart’s boss and mentor. Burkhart is working to open a new clinic in the shell of the clinic that remains, but has been closed since the fatal shooting of Dr. Tiller by a “pro-life” murderer named Scott Roeder. How ironic. Well, not really if you understand how the militant “pro-life” work. Not only did he kill Dr. Tiller, he shot him during Sunday services at the city’s Reformation Lutheran Church.
The death of Tiller and subsequent closing of his clinic left a huge hole in abortion access in Kansas. The nearest provider is now 200 miles from Wichita. It’s not easy to garner support for a women’s clinic that provides abortions in Wichita – ground zero for the country’s pro-life movement. The Daily Beast reports:
Hiring staff and doctors unafraid of the area’s violent history …has been a significant challenge for Burkhart. She’s found three doctors who will work at the clinic—two performing abortions, and one overseeing holistic women’s health-care services like Pap smears and prenatal care—but is careful to conceal their identities.
Both of the doctors who will be performing abortions will fly to Wichita regularly, as Burkhart was unable to find any local doctor willing to perform the service or one elsewhere willing to move to the area. One of those two doctors, a woman in her 30s who will fly in for two days a week to operate on women 13 weeks and under (the clinic will treat women up to 16 weeks), spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition that her name not be used, to avoid tipping off the anti-abortion activists who she said could “show up on my doorstep with signs and bullhorns.”
The clinic will not be providing the controversial late-term abortions that Tiller would provide, but it will be providing first and early second trimester abortions. First and foremost, they will be providing necessary health services to women that have nothing to do with abortion – and that the “pro-life” cause always seems to conveniently overlook. In an interview with the Associated Press, Burkhart says, “It’s about more than abortion. We’re about serving the needs of women. Thousands of women right now have to travel three hours-plus for medical services. It’s a burden on women. It’s a burden on women’s families.”