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At RH Reality Check, Carole Joffe, a professor at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, writes Reflections on the Fifth Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. George Tiller:

What is there to say, five years after the tragic murder of Dr. George Tiller, about the legacy of this remarkable man? The polarization—around Tiller specifically, and abortion in general—that occurred in Kansas during his lifetime has in no way abated. The abortion situation in Kansas in the post-Tiller era can be best understood as a series of both skirmishes and high-profile battles between the two sides of the endless abortion war.

Around the time of Tiller’s death, Kathleen Sebelius, then the Democratic governor of the state, who had served as a firewall between Tiller and other Kansas providers and the anti-choice state legislature, left to join the Obama administration; she was soon replaced by Republican Sam Brownback, a former senator and anti-abortion fanatic. The Kansas legislature which—in a move engineered by Brownback—has seen many moderate Republicans replaced by extreme right-wing ideologues, has passed one abortion restriction after another, all eagerly embraced by the governor. [...]

After Tiller’s death, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts launched a witch-hunt against Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who had served as Tiller’s second opinion on the third-trimester procedures performed at his clinic, as Kansas law required. Arguing that Neuhaus had inadequately documented the need for third-trimester procedures, the board revoked her medical license. But after a court case (which nearly bankrupted her), Neuhaus’ license was restored—only to have the board announce it would appeal the judge’s ruling. (As of this writing, the matter remains unresolved.)

As the closing of Tiller’s clinic after his murder left the city of Wichita (population 385,000) without any abortion facility, Dr. Mila Means, a local Wichita doctor, attempted to incorporate abortion into her family medicine practice, but her landlord forbade this, claiming this would cause a “nuisance,” a claim upheld by a judge. Julie Burkhart, a former associate of Tiller’s, has successfully opened an abortion facility, South Wind Women’s Center, at the site of his former clinic. But Means, Burkhart, and some of the staff of South Wind have been subject to terroristic threats.

Two of the physicians who had worked with Dr. Tiller in Wichita began to work at the Southwest Women’s Center in Albuquerque, where they continue to provide third-trimester abortions on a case-by-case basis while also incorporating many of the emotional support services Tiller had pioneered for this special patient population. (A third former Wichita colleague opened a facility in Maryland.) In response to the expanded services at Southwest, Operation Rescue operatives and other anti-choice forces succeeded in getting a referendum on the Albuquerque ballot in fall 2013 that would have imposed a ban on abortion after 20 weeks (an increasingly common restriction passed by some states, though quite rare to be city-specific). To the immense relief of the pro-choice community, both in New Mexico and nationally, the measure failed.

The most unequivocal victory that abortion rights supporters in Kansas have experienced since Tiller’s death is the disbarring of the former attorney general of Kansas, Phill Kline. In a move recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Kansas Supreme Court revoked his legal license, citing his abuse of power in his investigation of Tiller, Neuhaus, and other abortion providers in Kansas. Among other acts of misconduct, Kline had leaked the records of abortion patients.

Nationally, arguably the most significant cultural event that has occurred concerning George Tiller in the past five years has been the debut of the film After Tiller, which focuses on the third-trimester procedures provided by his above-mentioned former colleagues working in New Mexico and Maryland, as well as a longtime friend and associate in Colorado. […]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008Yes, Let's All Talk More About Iraq:

Despite his constant assertions of his military expertise, when speaking this week McCain once again proved ignorant of the most basic facts of the war he so avidly supports. He said that we have "drawn down to pre-surge levels": we most pointedly have not, causing the McCain campaign to angrily talk about "nitpicking" the difference between "verb tenses" -- like, say, past, present, future, and imaginary pluperfect. Because McCain wasn't badly misinformed, they assert, he was just talking about the future as if it were the present, or something.

He also claimed places like Mosul are "quiet" -- wrong. The latest suicide bombing was a mere day beforehand.

So when McCain said, in the same breath as those two fabrications that the Iraq War is "succeeding", it only called more attention to the bizarre and misinformed assertions he was using to justify that claim.



Tweet of the Day
A key moment in the life of any reporter: Realizing “that’s a great question” is a stall, not a recognition that you had a great question.
@daveweigel



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin sampled the morning's headlines. The House actually passed a gun background check funding amendment. Further UCSB fallout and gun safety roundup. Honest conservative snipe hunt. McConnell called out for ACA buffoonery. No, the VA is not an Obamacare preview. Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer looks to buy the Clippers from the most-hated man in America. More NSA & national security state discussion, based on Eben Moglen's "Privacy under attack."




High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Abortion and Pro Choice.

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