The Wichita clinic where Dr. George Tiller provided abortions may soon be back. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Trust Women Foundation has purchased the building that housed Women’s Health Care Services and intends to begin providing services there once again.
The clinic has been closed since an anti-abortion extremist murdered Tilller while the doctor served as an usher in his church in May 2009. The Trust Women Foundation and Political Action Committee is led by Julie Burkhart, a former spokesperson for the clinic and longtime pro-choice activist in Kansas. The Eagle reports that the foundation filed paperwork with the Secretary of State on Tuesday to purchase the clinic from Dr. Tiller’s widow.
This is big news for supporters of abortion rights in Wichita, which has had no abortion clinics since Tiller’s murder. Anti-abortion activists within the Kansas legislature have been doing their best to make it really difficult to provide abortions in the state. Last year, legislators passed strict new building codes that threatened to close down all the clinics in the state. A judge blocked the law from taking effect, but the legal wrangling over it continues. Tiller’s clinic would likely have to make significant changes if the courts let that law go forward.
Meanwhile, the Kansas medical board has continued to relentlessly pursue Tiller’s former colleague, Kristin Neuhaus, taking away her license in June for her work at the clinic. Another doctor training to provide abortions in the city has been blocked by her landlord and had her life threatened by anti-abortion activists.