Saturday, July 09, 2016

Reproductive rights rally to head off anti-abortion bullies' Summer of Mercy Anniversary

By SJ Otto
Hundreds of anti-abortion activists people plan to swoop down on Wichita next Saturday, July 16, to rally for the 25th anniversary of the Summer of Mercy. It was 25 years ago that anti-abortion bigots tried to close all three of Wichita's abortion clinics. Today there is only one clinic and it is Trust Women South Wind Women's Center. There is also a Planned Parent facility here in Wichita but no abortions are performed there.
The main organization behind this effort is Operation Save America, based in Waco, Texas. From year to year these antis seem to change their names. But as with the groups before them, the message is the same, to try and close clinics and make health care un-accessible to local area women. For that reason, several area pro-women and pro-abortion groups organized a pro-abortion; Repro Rally.
About 200 people attended the rally, which included booths and speakers.
"Defending the rights of poor people is a full-time job," said Gail Finney, a Democrat member of the Kansas House of Representatives, 84th house district.
Finney is one of the few liberal, pro-abortion and pro-women's rights representatives in the Kansas legislature.
"What ever they do, we can do better," Finney said of the anti-abortion crowd. "Because of the latest (US) Supreme Court decision this is an opportunity for us."
All through the rally speakers focused on not just defending abortion rights, but expanding them as well.
"Because of our next generation we need to stop all of this crazy right-wing silliness," Finney continued. "Our roads and schools are underfunded."   
Julie Burkhart, Founder and CEO of Trust Women, spoke of the anti-abortion crowd's first anniversary of the Summer of Mercy.
"They came back the next year to finish the job but, we stood up to them," Burkhart said. "We are in this for the very long hall. We will never give up."
She added that they have formed a god of their own, one to try and back up all the lies they tell.
"Forty-Two percent of the American Women can't be wrong," she added, pointing to statistics that tell how many women in the US support full abortion rights. "We are not going to back down. Our fabric is tight."
Also speaking was a women calling herself Melissa. She spoke of the hardships she faced after being sexually assaulted and raped.
"After my assault I quit going to school everyday," she said. "I drank more for more for months after that. I was financially unstable. I considered suicide. I battled night mares and paranoia."
She got help from the Planned Parent services.
"I wasn't just a patient I was a person," she added.

Organizations represented at this event included the First Unitarian Universal Church, Medical Students for Choice, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Wichita Transgender Community Network and Miranda Allen supporters who were collecting signatures for her to run as an independent for US Representative in the 4rth District. Mike Pompeo, a far-right Republican presently holds that seat. The Democrat running is not pro-choice, nor is he particularly progressive.  
About 200 people came out for the Repro Rally.

Representative Gail Finney said the latest Supreme court decision is an opportunity.
Melissa spoke of hardships from being sexually assaulted. 

No comments: