Roundup: Dr. Tiller’s Abortion Clinic Permanently Closes

Amy Dempsey

Dr. Tiller's abortion clinic permanently closes; Where do the anti-abortion activitists go now?; Sotomayor's support of abortion rights

Dr. Tiller’s abortion clinic permanently closes
George Tiller’s family announced Tuesday that they will permanently
close the Women’s Health Care Services Inc. The clinic was one of a few
in the country that performed late-term abortions, and women from all
over the country and world would go there for Dr. Tiller’s help. The New York Times
reported Tuesday that abortion rights advocates hoped the clinic would
remain open and continue to provide late-term abortions, but expressed
empathy for the Tiller family’s decisions. According to NYT, the family was also the target of protests, attacks and criticism for the past 30 years. 
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights told NYT:

"It is unacceptable that anti-abortion intimidation and violence has
led to the closing of Dr. Tiller’s clinic…Not only have we lost
a fearless defender of women’s fundamental health and rights in Dr.
Tiller’s murder, but the closing of his clinic leaves an immediate and
immense void in the availability of abortion."

Scott Roeder, anti-abortion advocate, is being held in a Wichita jail for Tiller’s murder.

reporter was able to get the first interview with Scott Roeder, who is
being held in a Wichita jail for the murder of Dr. Tiller.

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In the jailhouse interview Tuesday, Mr.
Roeder told Ted Rowlands from CNN that he had received letters of
encouragement, and described the closing of the clinic as "a victory
for all of the unborn children."

Where do the anti-abortion activitists go now?
35 years of protests, legislation and harassment, the focus of the
anti-abortion movement , Dr. Tiller’s clinic, has permanently shut its
doors. After Tiller was murdered by a pro-life advocate, his family
announced Tuesday they will stop operation of Women’s Health Care
Services Inc. in Wichita, Kansas.
Operation Rescue, which moved its national headquarters to Wichita from Southern California, told Associated Press it has no plans to relocate.
Operation Rescue has made Tiller’s clinic the center of their fight.
The Associate Press article says:

For now, Operation Rescue has no plans to leave Wichita and the
group’s leader, Troy Newman, called the family’s decision to close the
clinic "bittersweet." He said his group wants to close abortion clinics
but, "I want to see them close through peaceful, legal nonviolent

Tiller’s clinic had long served as a rally point for
abortion opponents. Most protests were peaceful, but his clinic was
bombed in 1986 and he was shot in both arms in 1993. In 1991, a 45-day
"Summer of Mercy" campaign organized by Operation Rescue drew thousands
of abortion opponents to Wichita and there were more than 2,700 arrests.

clinic was one of a handful of clinics across the country that perform
third-term abortions. Kansas state law allows abortions on viable
fetuses after the 21st week only if carrying the pregnancy to term
would endanger the mother’s life or cause a "substantial and
irreversible impairment" of a major bodily function. Courts have
interpreted a "major bodily function" to include mental health.

Tiller family’s decision to close the clinic has met criticism and
praise from pro-choice and pro-life supporters. Pro-choice advocates
worry late-term abortions will be less accessible for women, but
pro-lifers said the clinic will be remembered the same way as Auschwitz
and Pearl Harbor, according to the Associated Press.  

Sotomayor’s support of abortion rights

The Washington Times
is criticizing Sotomayor’s history of supporting abortion rights, and
claims conservatives should not guess that she is pro-life. The Times
said in the past, Sotomayor was affiliated with the Puerto Rican Legal
Defense and Education Fund, which submitted six court briefs in support
of abortion rights.

According to the Editorial,

The cases began with an abortion-funding case, Williams v. Zbaraz, just
as she joined the board, and they continued through the landmark cases
of Rust v. Sullivan, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, and
Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Especially in the Webster case, in which
all nine justices joined at least part of the decision saying that
states need not provide public funds for abortions, the fund supported
positions far more pro-abortion than the court itself did. Also, in the
case Ohio v. Akron Center, the fund wrote that it "opposes any efforts
to overturn or in any way restrict the rights recognized in Roe v.

The Editorial argues that while Sotomayor is not avowedly pro-choice, her past does not suggest she opposes abortion rights.


June 10: Christian NewsWire: First
Major Pro-Life Prayer-&-Picket Event Since Tiller Death will Focus
on NEA Teacher Union Convention in San Diego & NEA State HQs Across
America on July 2

June 9: Enid News: Local woman formerly worked for slain Kansas abortion doctor

June 10: Washington Times: EDITORIAL: Sotomayor’s abortion ties

June 9: TaxGirl: Ask the taxgirl: Birth Control Costs

June 8: Empowerher:"Natural" Birth Control Pill Available in Europe

June 8: E magazine: Earth Talk: Mattresses? Birth Control?

June 7: TaxLawyers Blog: Tiller’s Killer also a Tax Protester 

June 7: CPCB News: Prelate warns flock on ‘scare tactics’ on overpopulation

June 9: Inquistir: BREAKING: CNN gets first interview with anti-abortion killer of Dr. Tiller [VIDEO]

June 9: Colorado Independent: Boulder abortion provider deplores decision to close Tiller’s Kansas clinic

June 9: Glamour:True Health Confession: "I Had an Abortion in My Second Trimester"

June 9: LA Times: ‘Abortion fatigue’ on both sides as Kansas clinic closes

June 8: Anglicans United: Moral Reasoning in Light of Wichita

June 9: Lifesitenews: Commentary: ALL President Responds to Critics of "The Pill Kills" Events

June 6: Visinvox Blog: I am Pro-Stuff

June 5: Billboard: Keynote Dissects Bayer-Veronicas Partnership

June 4: Reuters: Pre-conception diabetes control important 

June 3: Chicago Tribune: When women obsess about weight during pregnancy

June 8: Christian Science Monitor: Peaceful abortion dialogue is shaky but real

June 10: KCPW: Legislature Will Take Up Contraception Bill Again

June 10: Brand Republic: Bayer promotes contraceptive pill online

June 9: Kansas City Star:Murderer stopped Tiller, but abortions will continue

June 9: Fox News: Is There a Double Standard for Presidents Talking About Their Faith?

June 9: AP: Clinic closing a tainted victory for abortion foes

June 9: LifeNews: More Pro-Life Groups Want House to Reject President
Obama’s Intl Abortion Agenda

June 9: LifeNews: First Poll With Abortion Question Following Tiller Shooting Shows Little Change

June 9: Catholic Online: The Pill’s Breast Cancer Troubles Drive Couples to Natural Family Planning

June 9: BeliefNet: Douthat’s abortion distinctions

June 9: Catholic News Agency: Archdiocese reviewing Catholic network’s alleged role in providing abortions

June 9: Beyond Chron: Will Killing Abortion Doctors Kill Abortion?

June 8: Jezebel: Medical Students For Choice Keep Tiller’s Memory, Mission Alive

June 9: Bangor Daily News: Recenter abortion debate on equality of sacrifice

June 8: All Africa: Uganda: Unplanned Pregnancies on the Rise

June 9: Daily Sound: Abortion is pro-life

June 9: Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette: Many pro-choice people silent while anti-abortionists rant 



News Politics

Missouri ‘Witch Hunt Hearings’ Modeled on Anti-Choice Congressional Crusade

Christine Grimaldi

Missouri state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) said the Missouri General Assembly's "witch hunt hearings" were "closely modeled" on those in the U.S. Congress. Specifically, she drew parallels between Republicans' special investigative bodies—the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Missouri Senate’s Committee on the Sanctity of Life.

Congressional Republicans are responsible for perpetuating widely discredited and often inflammatory allegations about fetal tissue and abortion care practices for a year and counting. Their actions may have charted the course for at least one Republican-controlled state legislature to advance an anti-choice agenda based on a fabricated market in aborted “baby body parts.”

“They say that a lot in Missouri,” state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) told Rewire in an interview at the Democratic National Convention last month.

Newman is a longtime abortion rights advocate who proposed legislation that would subject firearms purchases to the same types of restrictions, including mandatory waiting periods, as abortion care.

Newman said the Missouri General Assembly’s “witch hunt hearings” were “closely modeled” on those in the U.S. Congress. Specifically, she drew parallels between Republicans’ special investigative bodies—the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Missouri Senate’s Committee on the Sanctity of Life. Both formed last year in response to videos from the anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from fetal tissue donations. Both released reports last month condemning the reproductive health-care provider even though Missouri’s attorney general, among officials in 13 states to date, and three congressional investigations all previously found no evidence of wrongdoing.

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Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R), the chair of the committee, and his colleagues alleged that the report potentially contradicted the attorney general’s findings. Schaefer’s district includes the University of Missouri, which ended a 26-year relationship with Planned Parenthood as anti-choice state lawmakers ramped up their inquiries in the legislature. Schaefer’s refusal to confront evidence to the contrary aligned with how Newman described his leadership of the committee.

“It was based on what was going on in Congress, but then Kurt Schaefer took it a step further,” Newman said.

As Schaefer waged an ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the Missouri Republican attorney general primary, the once moderate Republican “felt he needed to jump on the extreme [anti-choice] bandwagon,” she said.

Schaefer in April sought to punish the head of Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis affiliate with fines and jail time for protecting patient documents he had subpoenaed. The state senate suspended contempt proceedings against Mary Kogut, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, reaching an agreement before the end of the month, according to news reports.

Newman speculated that Schaefer’s threats thwarted an omnibus abortion bill (HB 1953, SB 644) from proceeding before the end of the 2016 legislative session in May, despite Republican majorities in the Missouri house and senate.

“I think it was part of the compromise that they came up with Planned Parenthood, when they realized their backs [were] against the wall, because she was not, obviously, going to illegally turn over medical records.” Newman said of her Republican colleagues.

Republicans on the select panel in Washington have frequently made similar complaints, and threats, in their pursuit of subpoenas.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the chair of the select panel, in May pledged “to pursue all means necessary” to obtain documents from the tissue procurement company targeted in the CMP videos. In June, she told a conservative crowd at the faith-based Road to Majority conference that she planned to start contempt of Congress proceedings after little cooperation from “middle men” and their suppliers—“big abortion.” By July, Blackburn seemingly walked back that pledge in front of reporters at a press conference where she unveiled the select panel’s interim report.

The investigations share another common denominator: a lack of transparency about how much money they have cost taxpayers.

“The excuse that’s come back from leadership, both [in the] House and the Senate, is that not everybody has turned in their expense reports,” Newman said. Republicans have used “every stalling tactic” to rebuff inquiries from her and reporters in the state, she said.

Congressional Republicans with varying degrees of oversight over the select panel—Blackburn, House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (MI)—all declined to answer Rewire’s funding questions. Rewire confirmed with a high-ranking GOP aide that Republicans budgeted $1.2 million for the investigation through the end of the year.

Blackburn is expected to resume the panel’s activities after Congress returns from recess in early September. Schaeffer and his fellow Republicans on the committee indicated in their report that an investigation could continue in the 2017 legislative session, which begins in January.

News Law and Policy

Wisconsin GOP’s Voter Restriction Law Suffers Another Legal Blow

Imani Gandy

In blocking many of Wisconsin's elections restrictions, the lower court ruled that the state must reform how it deals with voters who have difficulty obtaining the required photo ID to vote.

A federal appeals court yesterday refused to stay a lower court order blocking several Wisconsin voting restrictions, allowing election officials to move forward with early voting in the state next month.

Attorneys on behalf of the state of Wisconsin filed the request for a stay with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals after a lower court judge last month issued an injunction that blocked parts of Wisconsin’s sweepings elections laws.

The lower court ruled that the justification for the laws did not justify the burden on voting rights that they impose. And this week a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit declined to stay that ruling, without explaining.

The ruling comes days after elections officials in Madison and Milwaukee announced their intention to kick off early voting in late September, a month earlier than would have been allowed had the lower court not struck down the restrictions on early voting, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

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The Republican-backed elections law created state-imposed limitations on the time and location for in-person absentee voting, a provision requiring absentee ballots be sent by mail instead of fax or email, the requirement that dorm lists—a certified list provided by the university of the students living in college housing, which student voters may use as proof of residence—must include citizenship information, a ban on using expired but otherwise qualifying student IDs to establish proof of residency, and a 28-day durational residency requirement.

In blocking many of Wisconsin’s elections restrictions, the lower court ruled that the state must reform how it deals with voters who have difficulty obtaining the required photo ID to vote. Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the GOP-controlled Wisconsin legislature had implemented a system under which people who don’t have birth certificates or who have problems with gathering documentation needed to obtain the proper identification would still be able to vote.

The lower court noted that the Walker administration’s system did not provide a viable long-term solution for those voters who could not obtain their birth certificates because they were destroyed in fires or misplaced by bureaucrats.

The court later stayed that portion of the ruling, stating that the system created by Walker’s administration—which provides people with temporary voting credentials while they await a decision about whether they qualify for an ID—was sufficient to allow people to vote during the upcoming November election and therefore does not need to be immediately reformed.

The ruling comes on the heels of a ruling in another voting rights case in Wisconsin, Frank v. Walker, about the state’s voter ID law. In that case, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit stayed a ruling that would have permitted anyone eligible to vote in Wisconsin to an accommodation that would permit that voter to cast a ballot after signing an affidavit stating that they could not easily obtain an ID.


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