No sooner than the anti-choice legal threats in Aurora start to die down do they begin to slide down to Kansas.
Apparently, there is a bizarre and obscure law in Kansas that allows registered voters to petition for the creation of a grand jury. That bastion of ethics, Operation Rescue, along with some local anti-choice pals, are exploiting that law to harass abortion providers. Petitions against the Overland Park Planned Parenthood and against already unfairly embattled abortion provider Dr. Tiller are currently underway.
The crime of which they are accused? Well, there isn’t one. There doesn’t have to be one. They just want to “make sure” that Planned Parenthood and Dr. Tiller are following the law. Translation: they want to have both abortion providers’ records publicly rummaged through and to cost both Planned Parenthood and Dr. Tiller a lot of money.
Of course, this Operation Rescue tactic is no longer a secret. They claim to work towards outlawing abortion, and of course they will back any anti-choice bills that make it to the legislature. But that’s not their main strategy. That is to file ridiculous lawsuits over and over again in attempt to send the abortion providers into bankruptcy. It’s easier, because there’s no publicly accountable process, and it takes neither legislative or public support. It just takes a lot of patience and more money than your opposition.
Of course, Planned Parenthood has national support and rarely goes down without a fight. Dr. Tiller, on the other hand, happens to run a private practice, and though he has lots of personal and moral support, he does not have a network of national donors. And unfortunately, even Planned Parenthood is not bulletproof. This fact was sadly affirmed this week in Michigan. The state has cut its funding for Planned Parenthood by 40%– over $700,000. And as a result, four Planned Parenthood of Western Michigan clinics are closing. Two are already shut, and the other two will be before the year is over. They believe that, as a result, over 10,000 people will miss out on medical care.
PPCWM is doing all that they can, including creating a new fund raising campaign. If you live in Michigan, I urge you to support them, and to write an angry letter to your state legislators. Dr. Tiller and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri are doing all that they can, too. But independent fund raising is not enough. What we need are legislators willing to stand up and say enough to anti-choicers abusing our legal system for harassment purposes. And that might take a while.