The high price of abortion restrictions
By Julie A. Burkhart, opinion contributor
Abortion access is a crucial component of women’s health care. Without the ability to choose if, when, and how to give birth, women face obstacles to economic success, educational achievement, and overall health and well-being.
Restricting access to reproductive health care — including safe and legal abortion — comes at the price of high maternal and infant mortality rates, a price that anti-choice organizations ignore when they push for the ever more punitive abortion restrictions.
As Trump Fans the Flames of Anti-Abortion Rhetoric, Kansas Offers a Cautionary Tale
August 2 2019
A sheriff’s deputy was waiting in his car along Interstate 35 just outside Kansas City, Kansas, on the afternoon of May 31, 2009, when the powder-blue Ford Taurus rolled by.
The deputy pulled out behind the car and followed it. He took up two lanes and put on his hazards so no one would try to pass as he called for backup. Minutes later, a four-car posse pulled the Taurus over. Inside was 51-year-old Scott Roeder. He got out of the car with his hands raised. There was blood on his pants and one of his shoes.
10 years without our friend and colleague, Dr. George Tiller
May 31, 2019
Taylor Rose Ellsworth, MPH is the Director, Education, Research & Training at Physicians for Reproductive Health.
I was raised in an abortion clinic in the South. After school, I waited to get buzzed in through the side door by the security camera. I did my homework in the recovery room, and remember hearing stories about Dr. George Tiller. He provided compassionate abortion care to women in Wichita, Kansas, many of whom needed an abortion later in pregnancy, traveling long distances to get the health care they needed after exhausting all their social and financial resources. It was stories like these that normalized abortion for me at a very young age as part of regular health care. I also understood that not everyone agreed with a person’s right to abortion. And some of these people committed terrible acts. I was 13 when a fellow abortion clinic in Georgia was bombed by an anti-abortion extremist, killing a police officer and maiming a nurse. I was afraid every morning when my mom left for work, until it just became part of our family’s reality. I never thought I would go on to work in abortion care, but it turns out I would follow in my mom’s footsteps.
Ten years after abortion doctor's murder, one woman carries the fight for reproductive rights
In 2009, George Tiller was shot dead in Kansas. Today, as America’s discord over abortion reaches fever pitch, Julie Burkhart is keeping the flame alive
Fri 31 May 2019
Julie Burkhart remembers all too vividly the morning of 31 May 2009. It was a Sunday and she was in a meeting in Washington DC when, shortly after 10am, her phone started buzzing incessantly with calls from her home town of Wichita, Kansas.
When she got through to one of her co-workers she thought at first he was making a surreal joke. George Tiller, her mentor with whom she had worked side-by-side for the past eight years at the frontlines of America’s abortion wars, had been accosted at Sunday service in his Wichita church and shot dead.
Abortion clinics on edge after woman who shot Kansas doctor is released from prison
By Judy L. Thomas
November 07, 2018
Abortion clinics across the country were taking extra precautions Wednesday after the anti-abortion activist who shot Wichita physician George Tiller in 1993 and committed a string of clinic attacks in several states was released from prison.
Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon, the Oregon woman whose actions once triggered a federal investigation into the possible existence of a national conspiracy of anti-abortion terrorists, had been living in a halfway house in Portland, Ore., since May. She has spent 25 years in custody.
Woman who shot Wichita abortion doctor, bombed clinics in 1990s released from prison
By Judy L. Thomas
May 22, 2018
The Oregon woman who shot and wounded a Wichita abortion doctor 25 years ago and firebombed several clinics in three states has been released from federal prison, causing concern among clinic operators who worry her release could spark a new wave of attacks.
Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, whose actions triggered a federal investigation into the possible existence of a nationwide conspiracy of anti-abortion terrorists intent on shutting down abortion clinics, left the Waseca Federal Correctional Facility in Minnesota on Monday and was being transported by bus to Portland, where she will be staying in a halfway house, according to her friends.
What If Buying a Gun Were Like Getting an Abortion?
Mar 5, 2018
It’s worth asking: What would a world look like where “pro-life” activists were as rabidly committed to protecting schoolchildren as they are to defending blastocysts?
President Donald Trump’s speech after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting called for a “culture of life,” a known shibboleth for anti-choice groups looking to “end abortion in our time.” In turn, Fox News commentators (and even MSNBC ones) have repeatedly linked the mass shooting epidemic to abortion. Right-wing social media followed suit, calling for exchanging the recently defeated 20-week abortion ban for a ban on AR-15s. Abortion, this argument would have you believe, is a greater moral evil than a society that allows teenagers to buy semi-automatic weapons.
Many Abortion Restrictions Have No Rigorous Scientific Basis
May 9, 2017, News Release
Texas and Kansas Stand Out as the States with the Largest Number of Scientifically Unfounded Restrictions
At least 10 major categories of abortion restrictions are premised on assertions not supported by rigorous scientific evidence, according to a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review. These restrictions include unnecessary regulations on abortion facilities and providers, counseling and waiting period requirements rooted in misinformation, and laws based on false assertions about when fetuses can feel pain.
The authors, Guttmacher Institute experts Rachel Benson Gold and Elizabeth Nash, document that over half of U.S. women of reproductive age live in states where abortion restrictions are in effect that have either moderate or major conflicts with the science. The worst offenders are Kansas and Texas (with laws in effect in eight out of the 10 categories) and Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Dakota (seven such laws each). A table with information for all states is included in the full analysis.
Continued at link: Guttmacher Institute: https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2017/many-abortion-restrictions-have-no-rigorous-scientific-basis
by Roxana Hegeman, The Associated Press
Posted Nov 23, 2016
WICHITA, Kan. – The man who seven years ago ambushed and fatally shot one of the few U.S. doctors performing late-term abortions was given a more lenient sentence Wednesday of at least 25 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
At a surprise resentencing hearing, prosecutors withdrew their request that Scott Roeder serve at least 50 years before parole eligibility. Roeder also was sentenced to an additional two years for aggravated assault for threatening two church ushers as he fled.
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Source: Associated Press, 1310 News
by Alice Hines
Sam Avery knew she could find what she needed at the All Families clinic, because she’d seen the protesters outside when driving through town. Their “Pray to End Abortion” signs billboarded an otherwise discreet service in Kalispell, Montana, population 22,000. It’s the kind of town where churches outnumber supermarkets and gay pride parades draw counter-protests. The clinic’s owner had a nickname: “Susan Cahill the baby killer,” says Avery. “She’s got that label for the rest of her life.”
Avery got pregnant after quitting the hormonal birth control that was making her sick. She decided to get an aspiration abortion, one of the most common surgeries in the U.S., which takes between three and 10 minutes to complete. Avery’s drive to All Families took four hours from her then-home on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation through Glacier National Park and across the Continental Divide. When she finally met Cahill, she gleaned a different impression from others in town: “She’s a rare mix of badass and surly and also caring and understanding. She has the right proportions to be really good at what she did.”
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