Latest Effort To Close Wichita Clinic Falls Flat
August 14, 2013 — Wichita City Council members on Tuesday showed no interest in considering a request from antiabortion-rights activists to stop an abortion provider from operating in its existing location, the Wichita Eagle reports.
The activists are trying to shut down the South Wind Women's Center, which is housed in the same facility once owned by slain abortion provider George Tiller (Wilson, Wichita Eagle, 8/13).
Last winter, Kansans for Life Development Director David Gittrich formally petitioned Wichita city officials to change the zoning rules to prevent the clinic from operating at the location (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/14). The city's Metropolitan Area Planning Commission would not hear the request (Wichita Eagle, 8/13).
Until the clinic opened in April, Wichita had not had an abortion provider since Tiller was murdered in 2009. The clinic also offers other women's health services (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/3).
At Tuesday's City Council meeting, Gittrich and three other abortion-rights opponents said the clinic is not appropriate for a residential area because of the potential for violence, particularly gun violence.
They also alleged that clinic employees have antagonized antiabortion protesters, although they did not present evidence to support the claims. Additionally, the speakers said neighborhood residents should not be exposed to the antiabortion signs they used in their protests.
To make the zoning change, the council would have to send the request back to the planning commission, which would then hold a public hearing and issue a recommendation (Wichita Eagle, 8/13).