November 2, 2010 — On Monday, Kansas City Star columnist Jeneé Osterheldt profiled 20-year-old Emily Boyer, a college student and volunteer with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri who "changed the course of [her] studies" after Kansas-based abortion provider George Tiller was murdered in May 2009. Tiller -- one of the few U.S. providers who performed abortions later in pregnancy -- was shot to death in his Wichita church by an antiabortion-rights activist.
Although Boyer "didn't know the controversial doctor," she was "familiar with his work," Osterheldt writes. Boyer grew in Kingman, Kan., "a small conservative town where sex education wasn't a priority," and "[m]any of her high school classmates ended up teen moms," Osterheldt continues. "Having known so many people who weren't aware of their choices and the consequences of their decisions, Emily paid close attention to hers," she writes, adding that Tiller's murder "pushed her to commit to educating others as well."
Boyer, a student at University of Missouri-Kansas City, became a sociology major with a minor in women's studies. She started an internship with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, "canvassing crowds with petitions for support of comprehensive sex education, passing out condoms on her campus and sitting at information tables," according to Osterheldt. Boyer said, "People think Planned Parenthood and automatically think abortions," adding, "But there are three parts to it. There's the clinic, the politics and the education." She continued, "Abortions are just one option at the clinic. ... I'm trying to prevent abortions by teaching sex education."
Boyer "saw protestors and was even confronted," but "[s]he says it only made her more dedicated," Osterheldt continues. She notes that Boyer continued volunteering after her internship ended, teaching students about healthy relationships, sex education and body image. Boyer will be a speaker at PPKM's 75th anniversary benefit on Saturday. Boyer said, "It's incredible to think about how long they have been helping people, despite all the challenges they have faced," adding, "Once upon a time, women were dying for basic sexual health care. It blows my mind that people want to get rid of a clinic that wants to provide health care and sex education" (Osterheldt, Kansas City Star, 11/1).
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