Slain Kansas Abortion Doc's Clinic Reopening

Protesters seek rezoning to block facility

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 22, 2013 11:01 AM CST

(Newser) – After George Tiller was killed in 2009, his abortion clinic in Kansas shut down. This spring, it will once again open its doors—but not without plenty of controversy, the Huffington Post reports. An abortion rights group purchased Tiller's former building, but anti-abortion activists are fighting the reopening. As it stands, local women must travel 150 miles to seek an abortion. Reopening the clinic "is absolutely one of the most difficult things I have had to do in my life," says Julie Burkhart, head of the group that now owns the building.

The feud comes as the Roe v. Wade decision sees its 40th anniversary today. The clinic has seen roadblocks and Burkhart's home has been picketed. Anti-abortion activists have garnered thousands of signatures on a petition calling for rezoning that would prevent the clinic from opening. They point to traffic and other local disturbances that they say the clinic would spawn. "We can't stop an abortion clinic, but we can stop it from going in there," says an activist. While rezoning would be possible, barring an abortion clinic can't legally be given as a reason, according to a city attorney.

Grafitti reading babies killed here is written on the curb outside the Women's Health Care Clinic in Wichita, Kan., Monday, June 1, 2009.
Grafitti reading "babies killed here" is written on the curb outside the Women's Health Care Clinic in Wichita, Kan., Monday, June 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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