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Ear to the Ground

Anti-Abortion Activists Try to Shut Kansas Clinic on Grounds It Draws Protests

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Posted on Aug 14, 2013
Elvert Barnes (CC BY 2.0)

In an absurd twist, anti-abortion activists in Wichita are arguing that South Wind Women’s Center should be shut down because the demonstrators’ own protest tactics against the reproductive health facility would be too disruptive to the community. They are contending the center attracts gun violence such as the assassination of its former director, Dr. George Tiller, by a demonstrator.

Although another of the protesters’ statements claims it is “inappropriate” for children to witness the rallies, a volunteer at the clinic says some demonstrators have “told their small children to lie in the driveway in front of incoming cars.” Not to mention that it’s their own group’s graphic posters they are trying to shield schoolchildren from viewing.

The demonstrators’ petition aims to pressure city officials into rezoning the area around South Wind Women’s Center as “non business,” and thus force the facility to cease operations.

Despite all this commotion, Julie Burkhart, the clinic’s owner, is trying to establish an amicable, safe environment. ThinkProgress reports:

Burkhart herself has been the subject of intense harassment since she decided to re-open the clinic. Protesters have demonstrated outside of her home, and fliers have referred to her as a “killer.” In April, during a conversation with the man who murdered Dr. Tiller, an anti-abortion activist was recorded as saying it would be a “blessing to the babies” if someone shot Burkhart, too. She tightened the security at South Wind before it officially opened to the public.

The hypocrisy exhibited by these often violent, disruptive protesters is simply appalling.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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