In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his Kansas church for daring to provide late-term abortions -- procedures provided to protect the health and lives of women or as a mercy for nonviable fetuses with severe abnormalities.
Harassment by both anti-choice legislation and extremist terrorism has lead to the closure of all but three reproductive health clinics in Kansas that offer abortions. In a state that once had 27 such clinics, many women have to drive hours to reach one of the few remaining places (all located in the northeast) to get any abortion procedure. It's a barrier to access that anti-choicers use to undermine a woman's right to control her own body upheld by Roe v. Wade -- and for many Kansas women, it means that they cannot, in reality, exercise their reproductive rights.
Julie Burkhart, Executive Director of Trust Women, says, "We cannot stand idly by while thousands of women go without reproductive health care. We must work so that all women in America are free, no matter where they live. That is why we work in Kansas." That's why Trust Women is working to establish a new women's medical facility with abortion services in Wichita, Kansas, where Dr. Tiller operated his clinic. Violence will not be allowed to deprive women of their rights.
In a petition on Change.org that has received over 800 signatures in less than a day, Trust Women is calling upon everybody who supports women's rights to stand with Kansas women fighting to save the remaining clinics and expand abortion care. The petition states: "If we don’t make a stand, Kansas could soon become one of a handful of states without a single clinic to provide legal abortions for women who need and want them. ... This attack on pregnant women’s freedom must stop."
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, an anti-choice group based in Wichita that harasses clinic staff and patients, told the New York Times: "We will ensure that this community remains abortion free." A federal judge has blocked the latest backdoor legislative attempt to shut down clinics: imposing arbitrary regulations about the size of storage rooms and demanding access to patients' private records. With reproductive rights in Kansas clearly under siege, groups like Trust Women need all the support they can muster to fight back.
Do you trust the women of Kansas and support their right to control their own reproductive lives? Sign Trust Women's petition to let Kansas politicians -- and everybody else -- know that you will stand up for them. You can also donate to the Trust Women Foundation to help their work here.
Photo credit: qwrrty
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