Antis abusing the legal system? Who would have guessed?

by Cara on October 5, 2007

in abortion, anti-choice extremism, assholes, courts, legislation, reproductive justice, women’s health

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.

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{ 4 comments }

1 brandann October 5, 2007 at 2:34 pm

no! i am FROM michigan! that makes me incredibly angry!!! although, and i am not defending the cut, the whole state has “shut down” due to a huge deficit in the states proposed fiscal year budget, so please know that it isn’t just PP getting slammed…(for example, i have to renew my driver’s license here in hawai’i b/c the michigan sec of state won’t even do them online or by mail right now, and public schools and courts are pretty much not functioning)
but, that doesn’t excuse PPCWM taking such a huge cut!
now i am doubly glad that when work handed out annual combined federal campaign forms, i included PP in my auto donation!

and thanx for the great post!

strike two for michigan!

2 Cara October 5, 2007 at 2:39 pm

Yes, that is a good point. It doesn’t not seem to be a primarily anti-choice measure, since lots of other programs have been affected, but I am highly skeptical of the idea that anti-choice politics had nothing to do with it. I’m also curious as to whether or not any other organizations have had to actually cease activity based on the cuts and how comparably important such activities might have been.

3 Cara October 5, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Also, it’s worth noting that I do not know whether or not any of the clinics that are closing actually perform abortions. Most PP clinics do not (for example, the affiliate I work for has 7 clinics, and only two perform abortions, both being in major cities). The article does not specify and PP obviously tries extremely hard to not release such information to non-patients. I hope that abortion will not become less accessible as a result, but of course lost access to birth control and pap smears are just as important, though they are arguably more easy to obtain, even for low income women.

4 brandann October 5, 2007 at 3:51 pm

just to fill in some data (and b/c i love discussing things w/you), the govenor of michigan laid off 35,000 of around 53,000 state/government employees. every public school except for those for the deaf, shut down (and if they don’t open next week won’t get funding). financial aid to universities is out (there was a rally in lansing yesterday). the state liquor board won’t be delivering. the gaming comission (huge job industry in michigan w/ all the casinos) is closed. courts run emergency only cases (and part of this is the friend of the court, who handles all child support and custody matters in michigan). human rights orgs and civil service places are being done on a leave a message basis. the secretary of state, as i mentioned b/f, won’t renew driver’s license or plates. the prisons, military schools, and detention centers are being minimally manned. the police, bless them, are working for free, b/c they feel it’s right, but all state posts are closed. all exportation of michigan goods is stopped, including no cattle permits and international sales.
like i said, the state has shut down, literally, until further notice.
and i hope that women can still get care, b/c health departments, i believe, are also down. i went to high school on the west side of the state, and know many women who depended on PP for BC, cancer screening, and routine paps!
hope that helps the skepticism, and if i find anything out i will pass it along, or post it on my site too.

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