Violence against abortion clinics hit a record high last year. Doctors say it's getting worse.
By Kate Smith
Updated on: September 17, 2019
For one of the last abortion doctors in Missouri, harassment, stalking and death threats are a part of regular life. But this year, it's been worse than ever.
Colleen McNicholas, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, is one of many providers who told CBS News they've seen an uptick in violence this year, both against themselves and their clinics. They say the increased harassment has coincided with newly enacted state laws restricting legal abortion and polarizing rhetoric surrounding the procedure.
Tired of hiding: five doctors who provide abortions come out
They’re fearless, defiant, and increasingly angry at the mounting threats in the US to reproductive rights. Here, they reveal why the reasons why they choose to go public
by Carey Dunne
Tue 6 Aug 2019
On a frigid evening in January, Dr Katie McHugh welcomed 20 guests into her Indianapolis home and prepared to tell them a secret she had kept for seven years. They had come for a Planned Parenthood fundraiser party; among them were her father and two sisters. As they gathered in her living room, sipping wine, McHugh’s hands shook.
“I was quite nervous, but I wanted to get my secret out as soon as I could,” she says. “I said, ‘Welcome. I’m glad you’re all here. I’m Katie McHugh. I’m an OB-GYN here in Indianapolis, and I’m also an abortion provider.’ My father visibly flinched. Then I stopped to take a breath, and everyone applauded, including my family.
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.
Then and now, Edmonds doctor a defender of abortion rights
Some states’ strict laws worry Dr. Suzanne Poppema, who performed the procedure for 20-plus years.
by Julie Muhlstein
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Retired, Dr. Suzanne Poppema rides her horse five days a week. The Edmonds woman now has time to take piano lessons. Yet retirement hasn’t ended her commitment to a cause that became her life’s work.
Poppema, who in the early 1980s had a family practice in south Everett, spent much of her career performing abortions. In 1996, she wrote a book, “Why I Am an Abortion Doctor,” co-authored with Mike Henderson, a former Herald writer.
10 years after abortion doctor George Tiller's murder, advocates fear violent rhetoric
Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY
Published May 31, 2019
Ten years ago today, George Tiller, a Kansas abortion doctor, was attending Sunday service at his Wichita church when he was fatally shot by an anti-abortion extremist.
"However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence," President Barack Obama said in a statement after his death.
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.
How abortion has changed since the Roe v. Wade ruling in the U.S.
By David Crary and Carla K. Johnson
The Associated Press
May 26, 2019
A wave of state abortion bans has set off speculation: What would happen if Roe v. Wade, the ruling establishing abortion rights nationwide, were overturned?
Although far from a certainty, even with increased conservative clout on the Supreme Court, a reversal of Roe would mean abortion policy would revert to the states, and many would be eager to impose bans.
Arson attempt, trespassing, and harassment: The consequences of extreme anti-abortion rhetoric
"This kind of language is an invitation to that radical fringe."
Amanda Michelle Gomez
May 6, 2019
Someone tried to light Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen on fire April 8. The Texas abortion clinic, the only provider serving the Rio Grande Valley, where the average household income is just $37,000, has been around for decades. The clinic has proved resilient, outlasting Texas laws that shuttered other clinics like it.
The arsonist struck at night, after hours, when nobody was at the clinic, said Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health. A neighbor noticed the fire and immediately called 911, so the fire department was able to extinguish the flames before the clinic could be too badly damaged. The clinic remained open, but there was residual smoke damage, and the staff could still smell the accelerant used to burn the clinic’s fence.
The Supreme Court Could Restrict Abortion Sooner Than Previously Thought
Abortion advocates are keeping a close eye on a Louisiana case that could come before the Supreme Court within the next two months
By Tessa Stuart
April 18, 2019
Kathleen Pittman has been the clinic administrator at Hope Medical Group in Shreveport, Louisiana, since 2010. Back when she first took the job, there were seven abortion clinics operating in the state. Today, there are three. Earlier this year, after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a law that would have required every doctor who provides abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, that number temporarily fell to two. It could have dwindled to just one if the Supreme Court had not stepped in, temporarily blocking the law from going into effect.
On Wednesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Fifth Circuit’s decision, keeping the three clinics left in Louisiana open. And, in an unusual step, they’re asking for the court to overturn the law without a hearing because of its striking similarities to a law the court already struck down three years ago, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.