Kansas Abortion Provider Under Attack

This post was written by Katherine Spillar, executive editor of Ms. Mazine. It was originally published at Ms. Magazine. Please help spread the word!

“Are doctors who are willing to provide [abortions] still just on their own, with their face on WANTED posters … waiting to see what happens next?… How do we as a country react?”

Rachel Maddow posed that question last week as she reported from Kansas on the escalating campaign of threats, harassment and terror against Dr. Mila Means, who recently announced her plans to provide abortions in Wichita.

Abortions have not been available in the city since the murder of Dr. George Tiller in May 2009. Means has now become the target of an aggressive campaign led by anti-abortion extremists. WANTED-style posters featuring Means’ photograph and address are being circulated in Wichita and online, and about a dozen anti-abortion zealots stalked the physician at her rural Wichita home.

Threats of violence against abortion providers intended to prevent them from providing reproductive health-care services—like those against Means—are prohibited by the FACE act, by state anti-stalking laws and by criminal threat and trespass laws. Although these threats can and should be prosecuted, all too often they are not. And time and again, threats that are ignored by law enforcement escalate to violence. [Read more...]

Friday News Roundup

A Matter of Life or Death. New York Times.

How Groundbreaking was MTV’s Abortion Special? Los Angeles Times.

Late-Term Abortion Doctor Moves Practice to Maryland. All Media NY.

What Mel Gibson, the Tea Partiers, and Newt Gingrich Should have Gotten for Christmas. Alternet.

Clinic Escort Explains Why Men Must Get Involved in Pro-Choice Movement

Feminist Conversations is a weekly column here at Feminists For Choice. We spotlight activists from around the country to find out what feminism means to them. Today we’re talking to Henry Howard, a long-time anti-war and and reproductive rights activist, originally from New York, who is now a writer in Los Angeles. Henry is a member of World Can’t Wait and the National Organization for Women.

1. When did you first get involved in clinic defense, and what influenced that decision?
I first got involved in clinic defense in November, 1989, when Operation Rescue decided to make Los Angeles its first national battleground. I was active in every major defense from then until 1992, when Operation Rescue folded its tents and finally left L.A. alone. Next they focused on Wichita, KS and Dayton, OH, throwing themselves by the thousands at Dr. Tiller’s clinic, and clinics in Ohio, for weeks at a time. I was not part of those national campaigns, but I went to Wichita in 2000 to defend Dr. Tiller, and last summer to Bellevue, NE to defend Dr. Lee Carhart. I would have to say that Dr. Curtis Boyd will probably be Operation Rescue’s new public-enemy #1, and we will eventually be required to stand in front of his clinic, too.

As for what got me involved in clinic defense: it was really a natural evolution of my activism in the women’s movement, which I date back formally to 1980 and the ERA campaign. I have always been unrelentingly pro-choice; I believe abortion rights are a red line in the sand that must never be crossed again in this country. I have met too many survivors of back-alley abortions, refugees from a time in this country when to be a woman daring to exercise her own biological destiny meant seeking out an underground world that often lead to her death. My own mother had two illegal abortions before I was born—both without anesthesia. [Read more...]

Monday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270What We Can Learn from the Child-Free Discussion – BlogHer
UN Guide for Sex Ed Generates Controversy – New York Times
Dr. Carhart Stands Firm Despite Protests – RH Reality Check
Women Need Rights, Not Rescue – RH Reality Check
Hillary’s Challenge for Women’s Rights & Foreign Policy – RH Reality Check
My Great-Grandmothers Had No Choice – Feministe

Tuesday News Roundup

mouse2Dr. Carhart is a Hero – Salon.com
When Feminism Went Nuts – The Times Online
Why American Pretend to Separate Church & State – Bilerico
What Every Woman Should Know About Women Who Ran For President – The New Agenda
How Do I Help a Loved One Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted? -After the Silence
The Sexual Politics of Condom Usage – RH Reality Check
Abortion Returns to the Health Care Debate – Newsweek
Health Care Reformers Say Maternity Benefits Make Cents – Women’s e-News

Protect Abortion Rights in Nebraska

LeRoy_Carhart__MDOperation Rescue has its newest target: Dr. Leroy Carhart in Nebraska. Dr. Carhart provides abortions and also performs late term abortions just as Dr. Tiller did in Wichita, KS.  Anti-choice extremists are launching an attack against Dr. Leroy because he is unafraid to perform abortion and protect the rights of the women and families who need them.

Dr. Carhart is taking a stand and we must stand with him.

Several groups are staging rallies and counter-protests: Kansas NOW, Nebraska NOW, and World Cant Wait.

Send a letter of support to Dr. Carhart on NARAL Pro-Choice America’s site, or on the NOW national site.

Dr. Carhart Needs You in Nebraska

Guest writer nicki2377 is a newly active feminist activist from Wichita, KS. After the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, she realized that believing in a woman’s right to choose wasn’t enough – sometimes you have to hold a sign in the pouring rain for the cause. She is currently working hard to make up for lost activist time.

Physicians that are willing to preform abortions in our country are subjected to a laundry list of harassment tactics. The attacks on the doctors and their employees is generally one of intimidation. Dr. LeRoy Carhart discussed the activities that have been directed at his clinic over the years in a recent Newsweek article:

“Carhart knows there are people who want him dead, too. A few days after Tiller’s murder, Carhart’s daughter received a late-night phone call saying her parents too had been killed. His clinic got suspicious letters, one with white powder. It’s been like this since Carhart started performing abortions in the late 1980s. On the same day Nebraska passed a parental-notification law in 1991, his farm burned down, killing 17 horses, a cat, and a dog (the local fire department was unable to determine the fire’s cause). The next day his clinic received a letter justifying the murder of abortion providers. His clinic’s sidewalks have been smeared with manure. Protesters sometimes stalk him in airports. The threats, the violence, now the assassination of his close friend—all of it has left Carhart undaunted, and the billboard-size sign over his parking garage still reads, in foot-high block letters, ABORTION & CONTRACEPTION CLINIC OF NEBRASKA. “They’re at war with us,” says Carhart of the anti–abortion activist who killed Tiller. “We have to realize this isn’t a difference of opinions. We need to fight back.”

[Read more...]

Tuesday News Roundup

mouse2Tips For Taking Care of Your Sex Toys – Lesbian Lush
Obama Administration Files Papers to Repeal DOMA – NPR
Why Don’t More People Use the Female Condom? – Splice
Personhood Bills A Big Money Maker for the Anti-Choice Movement – Air America
Dr. Carhart Gearing Up For Anti-Choicers – Omaha World Herald
Aborting Health Care Reform – RH Reality Check
If Obama Discards the Public Option, What’s Left of Reform? – The Nation
Mexico Strengthens Abortion Restrictions – IPS News

Dr. Carhart Needs Your Voice

05greenhouse_CA0.600Guest writer Clinic Escort is a feminist activist from New York. She’s an uppity woman who’s been standing up and speaking out for women since 1989. She started escorting patients on their way into the women’s clinic past clumps of unhinged shouters in June. You may have seen her loud-mouthed tweets. If not, you should be following her, ‘cuz she’s hilariously pro-choice.

Over the weekend, RH Reality Check reported that Dr. Leroy Carhart, the Nebraska abortion provider who is now in Operation Rescue’s crosshairs, has recently been abandoned by the U.S. federal marshals who had been sent to protect him following the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas and the attendant upswing in anti-choice crime. The Kansas chapter of National Organization for Women (NOW) responded with a call for activists to phone the Department of Justice and urge them to reinstate crucial protection for Dr. Carhart at this dangerous time.

I did call DOJ today. It took me about two minutes, and I want to urge everyone else to do the same. Their “comment line” (202-353-1555) actually goes to voice mail, so you don’t even have to be nervous about talking to a real person. It also meant I had the chance to prepare a text before calling to make sure my message was clear. Here is what I said:

“My name is _____. I am an American citizen and taxpayer from _____. I am calling about recent news reports that the protection of federal marshals has been withdrawn from Dr. Leroy Carhart, a Nebraska physician who provides safe and legal abortion services.

“I am very alarmed by this withdrawal, and I would like to urge the Department of Justice to reinstate protection for Dr. Carhart immediately. He has recently been announced as the next major target of militant anti-choice extremists, who are planning to swarm his clinic beginning at the end of this month. The potential for violence from these people is very high, as we have seen from the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas and numerous other acts of anti-choice terrorism over the years. [Read more...]

Tuesday News Roundup

mouse2Women’s Insurance Coverage Has Been Adversely Effected By the Recession – Feminist Majority Foundation
New HIV-blocking Gel Available For Women – EurekAlert
Are You the Master of Your Domain? Test Your Masturbation Knowledge – Teen Talk
When Will Society Support Women Who Choose NOT to Have Kids? – New York Post
The Deadly Toll of Abortion By Amateurs – New York Times
Why Did Dr. Carhart Lose Federal Protection? – Salon.com