Abortion clinic to open in Wichita this week

Posted at: 04/02/2013 11:12 AM
By: The Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A new clinic has begun taking appointments and is expected to open within days in the building of abortion provider George Tiller nearly four years after he was gunned down.

The South Wind Women's Center will offer comprehensive women's health care services, including abortions up to 14 weeks. The new clinic is owned by Trust Women Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by Julie Burkhart, who worked with Tiller for seven years.

The foundation bought the property from Tiller's wife in August. Burkhart said it has cost about $700,000 to purchase the clinic and get it up and running. Burkhart said the clinic will open when last-minute details are worked out sometime this week.

Three doctors will work on a rotating basis at the clinic. The Kansas City Star reports  abortion opponents are vowing to force the clinic to close. Burkhart says security will be heightened at the clinic and patients will be safe. Tiller was gunned down in 2009 at his church in Wichita by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder, who is serving a life sentence for the physician's murder. Abortion opponents have sporadically protested at the clinic and at Burkhart's home even before its opening.

Burkhart will be in court Thursday seeking a permanent protection from stalking order against Wichita pastor Mark Holick.

Holick did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. A move by Kansans for Life failed to get the city to rezone the building so as to block its opening.

Tiller was one of the few remaining late-term abortion providers in the nation when he was gunned down in church and his clinic shuttered.

When Tiller operated the clinic, it was the site of regular protests by abortion opponents, including large "Summer of Mercy" demonstrations in 1991 and 2001 that led to mass arrests. Burkhart, the Trust Women founder, was a clinic employee and from 2002 to 2009 ran ProKanDo, a PAC formed by Tiller.

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