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Locally and statewide, abortion foes march on

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, at 12:37 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, at 6:56 a.m.

Local supporters of Operation Rescue on Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by promising to continue efforts to shut down abortions clinics and stop the work of abortion providers.

Senior policy adviser Cheryl Sullenger told a crowd of about 20 gathered in the anti-abortion group’s national headquarters, 3013 E. Central, that it plans to bring any policy or health violations to the attention of authorities with the hopes abortion providers “will amend their ways or stop giving abortions.”

“We believe that 40 years of this is enough and this should stop,” Sullenger said. “We don’t want to be here for the 41st memorial.”

The informal Wichita gathering was one of several rallies held nationally to mark the 1973 Supreme Court landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which created a constitutional right to abortions in some circumstances. Operation Rescue’s meeting recapped the group’s past activities and highlighted current efforts to move toward an abortion-free nation.

About 660 abortion clinics are operating nationwide — down from the more than 2,100 open in 1991, Sullenger said, referring to statistics gathered by Operation Rescue.

In a recent effort to keep Wichita abortion-free, the group filed a complaint against abortion-rights group Trust Women Foundation Inc., which plans to open a reproductive health clinic in the same building that once housed the practice of murdered abortion provider George Tiller.

The complaint claims Trust Women has not obtained the proper permits required by the city to remodel the clinic, resurface the parking lot and landscape the grounds.

At Tuesday’s gathering, Sullenger announced another endeavor — a “legal project” with a partnering agency — designed to further stall or stop the clinic’s opening.

She declined to offer further details or the agency’s name.

The group ended its 90-minute gathering with a moment of silence and prayer for millions of fetuses aborted in the four decades since the decision was handed down by the Supreme Court.

“I want to remember them,” said 30-year-old Karen Myers, who attended Tuesday’s meeting. “I want to mourn them.”

In a quiet observance of Roe v. Wade’s 40th anniversary, Trust Women marked the ruling by pressing forward with plans to open what founder Julie Burkhart called “a comprehensive OB/GYN facility.”

The clinic would offer abortion services.

“Reproductive freedom is the cornerstone of equality for women of this great country,” Burkhart said in a prepared statement, vowing to persevere despite the attempts to impede progress.

“Such a facility will allow women to receive qualified medical care without judgment, and to make informed decision about their lives.”

Topeka’s rally

In Topeka, at least 1,000 people rallied with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and anti-abortion legislators. During his first two years in office, the governor signed a series of tough anti-abortion measures; other states with GOP governors and Republican-controlled legislatures have taken similar steps.

“There’s joy in what you’re doing and keep it up,” Brownback urged hundreds of fellow abortion opponents at a rally outside the Kansas Statehouse. “Keep marching. Keep moving.”

The Roe v. Wade observance continues Friday at the annual March for Life, which traditionally draws several hundred thousand abortion opponents to Washington.

Contributing: Associated Press

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