Trust Women

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A jury on Tuesday ruled against an anti-abortion activist in his lawsuit against a prominent Wichita abortion rights advocate.

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A jury is hearing arguments this week in a years-long case involving a prominent Wichita abortion rights advocate and an anti-abortion protester.

Mark Holick is suing Julie Burkhart, head of the abortion rights group Trust Women, in federal court over what he alleges was a damaging and unlawful restraining order against him.

Exactly 10 years ago, on May 31, 2009, an anti-abortion zealot gunned down ob/gyn and reproductive rights advocate George Tiller as he was distributing literature in the foyer of his Wichita church.

His murder marked the culmination of 18 years of militant anti-abortion protests that began with massive demonstrations in Wichita in June 1991. Protestors blockaded abortion clinics for weeks during the “Summer of Mercy,” police made more than 2,600 arrests and a judge ordered U.S. marshals to keep the gates of Tiller’s clinic open.

In April, the Kansas Supreme Court said the state’s constitution gives women a right to abortion.

That landmark ruling bolsters an ongoing lawsuit to expand access to abortion in Wichita. The case aims to clear the way for a clinic there — unable to find any willing, local doctors — to lean more on physicians in other states.

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A judge ruled Monday that Kansas cannot stop telemedicine abortions, thwarting the latest attempt by state lawmakers to prevent doctors from providing pregnancy-ending pills to women they see by remote video conferences.

A Kansas law prohibiting drug-induced abortions via telemedicine is being challenged by a women’s health clinic in Wichita that provides abortions.

Trust Women Wichita on Thursday filed a lawsuit seeking to block the law from taking effect on Jan. 1.

“Our mission as an organization is to provide reproductive health care to people in the state of Kansas and elsewhere, and to provide that care to underserved communities,” said Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women Wichita.

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An Oklahoma court has thrown out a law that required abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.

The law required doctors who performed abortions in the state to be able to admit patients to nearby hospitals. Doctors must apply for the privileges and go through a credentialing process.

The court ruling that threw out the law is seen as positive by people who support abortion rights. Trust Women of Wichita – which runs Southwind Women's Center, the former site of Dr. George Tiller's clinic – has recently opened a clinic in Oklahoma.