January 18, 2013 — The Wichita, Kan., clinic formerly operated by abortion provider George Tiller is expected to reopen under new management in the coming months with recently hired staff and enhanced security, the AP/Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (Hegeman, AP/Atlanta Journal Constitution, 1/16).
Wichita has not had an abortion provider since Tiller was shot to death by an antiabortion-rights activist in 2009. The Trust Women Foundation, which is led by former Tiller employee Julie Burkhart, has been working to re-establish a clinic after becoming the sole owner of the building last fall (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/9). Currently, the nearest abortion provider in the state is about 200 miles away.
The new clinic, called South Wind Women's Center, has contracted with one full-time physician and two part-time physicians and hired most of its additional nine to 10 employees. In addition to abortion services, the clinic will offer prenatal, obstetrical and gynecological care.
Burkhart said the clinic would comply with state regulations for abortion facilities -- which are on hold because of a legal challenge -- if they take effect. The regulations require abortion providers to stock certain drugs and equipment, as well as meet size and temperature requirements for procedure and recovery rooms.
The Feminist Majority Foundation is working with local, state and federal law enforcement officials and training the clinic's employees on safety measures to enhance the clinic's security. The Foundation is also assisting the clinic's community outreach efforts.
Antiabortion-rights activists have begun protesting outside the clinic and Burkhart's home. In November, posters were distributed in Burkhart's neighborhood with her photo and address.
DuVergne Gaines, legal coordinator for the Feminist Majority Foundation's National Clinic Access Project, said the protesters are not representative of everyone in Wichita. "A large group of people in this city, and in this state actually, are celebrating the imminent re-opening of this clinic as a triumph over terror," she said (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/16).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership