Once a center of antiabortion extremism, Kansas’s protections are now stronger than everBreaking News
tags: abortion, Kansas, Protest
Julie Burkhart was in her early 20s when she responded to the person yelling at her as she walked into work. How could she ever take a job at a place like that? the woman wanted to know. Burkhart didn’t realize it then, but she’d have that same argument for decades.
It was 1991, and Burkhart had returned from college to discover that her hometown of Wichita had become the front line of the religious right’s battle against abortion. She went straight into the trenches.
At a local clinic, she took calls from women who wanted abortions and scheduled their appointments. That’s where she met the protesters, and there were a lot of them that year.
Those sweltering months would come to be known as the Summer of Mercy, when members of the bellicose antiabortion group Operation Rescue traveled to the Midwestern city in droves and swarmed abortion clinics. The next month and a half radically changed the politics of abortion in Kansas.
Burkhart, meanwhile, honed her ideology and strengthened her resolve.
“It further ingrained in me that people have to decide for themselves whether they’re going to have a baby or not,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post. “It became my life’s work.”
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