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...]