Anti-abortion legislators are trying just about everything they can to restrict women's access to a legal procedure, from regulating the size of janitor's closets in clinics to arguing that a fertilized egg is exactly the same as a person (who may naturally exit the uterus and never grow any organs). It often seems like pro-choicers are on the defensive, so it's heartening to hear that rather than just struggling to keep existing clinics open, activists in Kansas are working to open new facilities. The ongoing effort in Wichita holds particular significance because it would bring abortion services back to the area for the first time since Dr. George Tiller was murdered in 2009.
Trust Women, a PAC founded to carry on Dr. Tiller's work, has announced that it's raised half of the money it needs to open a new clinic and hired a medical director. It's still unclear where the clinic will be located, and the group needs to find doctors who are willing and able to perform abortions in an area of the country where the fight over reproductive fights is incredibly fierce. However, if all goes according to plan, Trust Women will be providing abortions in Wichita again in 2012. An attorney for the group told KSN, "Trust Women is looking forward to providing women with health services in this area where there are currently no services available."
Meanwhile, Dr. Mila Means is still struggling to open her own abortion clinic in the area. As mentioned earlier, Dr. Means bought much of Dr. Tiller's equipment and has been working on completing her training. She's found many property owners won't rent to her, and is trying to start a non-profit to raise money to open a practice.
In response to the news, anti-choice organizations have already started issuing threats. David Gittrich of Kansans For Life says, "We will do a lot of research on whoever the abortionist is and find out all of their background like we have all the rest of them." In addition to facing off with radical nutjobs, any new clinic would have to comply with the regulations put in place this summer, assuming they aren't struck down by the courts. Kansas abortion providers already managed to block the first version of the law, and they're still challenging it on the grounds that the requirements are burdensome and irrational. Dr. Means says that even if the restrictions go through, that won't stop her. She says, "I don't anticipate and don't intend to let that sway me from continuing to try to bring abortion practices back to Wichita, Kansas."
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