The Heckler’s Veto in Kansas

Longtime friend of Dispatches (and of me) Gretchen writes about a heckler’s veto being attempted in Kansas to prevent an abortion clinic from opening in the same building used by George Tiller before he was murdered. An anti-abortion group is arguing that the clinic will be disruptive. Why? Because they’ll protest there after it opens.

That’s why I’m concerned about a ridiculous but possibly effective ploy being pulled by opponents of the opening of a new clinic which would provide abortion services in Wichita, in the same facility previously owned by Dr. George Tiller (murdered in 2009). It will be called South Wind Women’s Center and run by Trust Women founder Julie Burkhart, who used to work with Tiller. But pro-life group Kansans For Life has, completely unsurprisingly, been attempting to fight the new clinic in any way they can think of. Right now they are attempting to have the area re-zoned, because– get this– it’s bad for the neighborhood to have the disruption that constant protesters cause. Protesters like who? Why, Kansans For Life!

The group swears that it will never let the clinic operate peacefully and without protest, saying, “It’s never going to happen. Abortion is never going to be accepted in this country. We’re never going to be quiet and let it go on.” Okay, that’s fine. You can protest all you want. But your right to protest does not translate into a right to have the clinic shut down, or prevented from opening.

17 comments on this post.
  1. jnorris:

    I thought the right wingnutz claimed they never boycotted businesses. Did I miss a memo somewhere?

  2. stuartsmith:

    Seems like this is easy to solve. Just put the clinic in their neighborhood. Then the protest won’t disrupt anyone’s life, because everyone it could disrupt would be out protesting. It would also be much more convenient for the protestors.

    Everyone just call me The Problem Solver from now on.

  3. Michael Heath:

    “It’s never going to happen. Abortion is never going to be accepted in this country. We’re never going to be quiet and let it go on.”

    Wrong, you’ll eventually die.

  4. glodson:

    Ah, “hey, if you do that you are going to get punched in the face because I will punch you in the face if you do that, but this isn’t really a threat, I’m just letting you know why you shouldn’t do that, how nice am I?”

  5. Randomfactor:

    Just declare the clinic to be a church. The Feds, for one, will cave in on any and all legal restrictions.

  6. tuxedocartman:

    @stuartsmith #2: And if what a lot of abortion providers say is true, the clinic will also be that much closer to a large portion of their customer base.

  7. Roger:

    Oh Lord, bless this thy holy speculum.

  8. sc_19a93d5fcaec8e1700caa792f5c9c782:

    A church and a protection racket all in one — match made in heaven!

    Abortion is never going to be accepted?! It already is hon and has been for, well likely ever, but recorded history is evidence enough.

  9. Pteryxx:

    The anti-choice group is going to present over 10,000 petition signatures to the Wichita City Council by Feb 5 (this Tuesday) to convince them to re-zone the property. I sent the Trust Women group a message asking if folks here can coordinate messages in support of the clinic.

  10. Modusoperandi:

    “Yes, it’s a nice neighborhood, but your neighbors will be assholes.”
    “Don’t you live next door?”

  11. raven:

    Just more xian terrorism.

    I”m surprised they didn’t threaten to burn it down or bomb it.

    I’ll be even more suprised if they don’t try to bomb it or burn it down.

  12. caseloweraz:

    I assume they can’t get the neighborhood re-zoned just to ban abortion clinics; that any legal restriction would be broader than that. Thus the ban, if passed, would have the effect of preventing any sort of medical clinic there. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  13. Markita Lynda—threadrupt:

    We continually hear of anti-abortion protesters sneaking into abortion clinics for an abortion. If I ran the clinic, they would be videotaped saying that they wanted an abortion, sign a request for an abortion, and in addition sign permission for me to publish both if they resumed protesting against the clinic.

  14. madgastronomer:

    Markita, that would be both illegal and unethical.

  15. eric:

    Someone should file a petition with the city saying they will protest against the protesters, and that this secondary protest will be so disruptive that the pro-life protest should not be allowed.

  16. cactuswren:

    glodson @4:

    Ah, “hey, if you do that you are going to get punched in the face because I will punch you in the face if you do that, but this isn’t really a threat, I’m just letting you know why you shouldn’t do that, how nice am I?”

    You probably think that’s hyperbole, don’t you? I dealt with an individual on the Usenet newsgroup talk.abortion who said that if “the abortion pill” (he meant emergency contraception) became available from his local pharmacy, he would leave notes in the store saying something like “Warning! Don’t shop in this store! The pharmacy carries the abortion pill and the store is likely to be bombed by abortion protesters!” He maintained that this wouldn’t count as a “threat”, only a “warning”.

  17. fastlane:

    raven@11: It’s only a matter of time.

    I personally know many of the people who worked as escorts at that clinic, and the shit they put up with from the anti-choice crowd. I know I couldn’t do it, because I’m not that much of a pacifist, and would be arrested for assault….

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