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A husband and wife have provided abortions for 40 years in a state with tight restrictions and few providers. Our reporter Allison Yarrow flew out there to spend a day with them at their clinic.
Here’s a preview of her report, but do click-through to read the full story:
I’ve made the three-hour drive south from Wichita, Ks. on I-135, which has been traveled by many of the women Burns sees. They make the trek because there is no doctor in the metro area of more than half a million people who performs abortions. The dearth results not from restrictive laws, but from the 2009 murder, in his church’s lobby, of Dr. George Tiller, who provided abortions, including late-term abortions. Before he was fatally shot by anti-abortion protester Scott Roeder, Tiller had survived the bombing of his clinic in 1985, been besieged by protests during Operation Rescue’s 1991 “summer of mercy,” shot in both arms in 1993, and tried and acquitted in 2008 for 19 misdemeanor charges of circumventing the letter of a state law requiring a second opinion before performing an abortion. When he was murdered, the clinic closed and his name still resonates as a cautionary tale about the perils of providing abortions.
Larry and Debby Burns agreed to have me up for the day to their clinic—one of the five about 200 miles from Wichita that are now the closest remaining options for women there. I’ll be the first reporter they’ve given such access to in 40 years of practice. Two other clinics who have seen an influx of Wichita women, in Kansas City and Tulsa, declined to have a reporter visit.
While I wasn’t allowed in the room for the procedure itself, Debby introduced me to patients as they arrived, and several agreed to let me spend the day with them (on the condition that their real names would not be used) from arrival and paperwork to ultrasound to medical consultation and then after the abortion was performed in recovery.
Burns sees 14 patients over the day I’m here, with the closest one coming from Oklahoma City, 45 minutes away, and the farthest coming from Oklahoma’s panhandle, some four hours away. On other days, patients arrive from as far off as Texas and Arkansas.
[Photo of Dr. Larry Burns’ Clinic in Oklahoma by Allison Yarrow]
We look at access to abortion services in America, identifying and confirming the location—though not the address—of the country’s remaining 724 clinics, and calculating the distance to the closest clinic in every part of the country. Like this one: the very last clinic in Mississippi.
After Tiller, the Sundance documentary named after the physician gunned down in 2009, follows the four doctors in America who still perform third-trimester abortions. We spoke with three of the doctors about the abortion battle, and their fanatical foes.
Do you support or oppose legal abortion? Come share your opinion on the website. Current tally is 163 for, 106 opposed.
Andrew Sullivan points to this chart from Razib Khan breaking down public opinion on the right to abortion in cases of rape. As he notes, “no demographic group, not even biblical literalists or the extremely conservative, breaks fifty percent in denying abortion to rape victims.”
Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of the advocacy group National Advocates for Pregnant Women, who dismissed Dr. Willke’s claims as “junk science” in an article on the site today.
Dr. John Willke, the president of a pro-life group the Life Issues Institute, and also a physician, who has been active in the movement for decades.
We’re retiring the mustache cursor for the day. Here’s our new one: a coat hanger.
[Update! A statement.]
Whoa there, Huffington Post!
This is far less horrifying than your Niall Ferguson cover story this week.
annnnd…Rob Delaney once again gets to the heart of things. Love that dude.
Reeeeeally?! A coat hanger, signifying one of the most desperate and terrifying abortion methods that women have had to resort to over the years, is more horrifying than a known conservative’s case for firing the President?! There’s political discourse—and then there’s this. We’re biased, obvs, but gonna have to disagree with you on that.
(Source: The Huffington Post)
Do this. We go live at 10am.