July 13, 2011 — Julie Burkhart, executive director of the political action committee Trust Women, on Tuesday said she hopes to open a clinic that provides first-trimester abortion care and other women's health services in Wichita, Kan., next year, the AP/Washington Post reports. The group is working to recruit a qualified abortion provider for the clinic. Burkhart said individual donors and foundations have contributed about one-quarter of the $500,000 needed to open the clinic.
Abortion services have not been available in Wichita since the murder of abortion provider George Tiller in May 2009. The three clinics that provide abortion care in the state are about 200 miles away in the Kansas City area. Two of those clinics recently sued the state after they were unable to meet requirements of a new law that requires clinics to have rooms of certain sizes and temperatures, to stock certain drugs and equipment, and to provide the state with access to medical records.
Burkhart -- who previously led Tiller's PAC and developed it into the state's top-spending PAC in 2002 -- said her knowledge of Kansas will help her in trying to open the clinic. She added, "Wichita is a spot that has been targeted by the anti-choice movement relentlessly for the past 20 years, and we have to be able to stand our ground and say enough is enough."
Recent efforts by others to open abortion clinics in Wichita have been unsuccessful. Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, noted that Burkhart has financial contacts and the backing of national abortion-rights organizations. "We take it a little more seriously when Julie Burkhart says she is going to do it," Culp said (AP/Washington Post, 7/12).