2013 has seen its fair share of battles in the fight for reproductive justice. There have been many setbacks and losses for women around the world. However, simultaneously, 2013 has brought much to celebrate. As the year, is soon to wrap up, I wanted to share some of Trust Women’s top moments in 2013 as well as some of the top RJ moments in the US, showcasing the ways in which the Trust Women supporters and reproductive justice advocates worldwide have made a profound impact this year.
7. The Wendy Davis Filibuster
This list probably could not be complete without mentioning Wendy Davis, who in 2013 became a household name. You probably remember Wendy wearing her pink sneakers back in June when she held an 11 hour filibuster in an attempt to block a bill in the Texas that would “would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers do, and mandate that a doctor who performs abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.” (via NY TIMES)
However, unfortunately, the bill that Senator Davis fought against was recently passed due to a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals in November. Due to the confines of the bill, many clinics that offer abortion services have closed causing more emotional and financial burdens on women, forcing them to travel great lengths to receive the treatment they deserve. (Click here to read more on the Texas Ruling via the Trust Women blog).
6. Trust Women’s “After Tiller” Showing
This past November Trust Women alongside Tallgrass Film Festival held a showing of the film “After Tiller.” The film focuses on the topic of third-trimester abortions, a procedure that is only performed by four doctors in the United States, “who risk their lives everyday in the name of their unwavering commitment toward their patients.” (For more on the movie. )
Check Out the “After Tiller” Trailer here:
Joined by the film directors, Lana Wilson and Martha Shane, and a physician that was featured in the film, over 600 people attended the screening.
5. Victory in Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico faced its own challenge when a question was placed on the ballot that would ban abortions in Albuquerque after 20 weeks. This decision to ban late-term abortion would be particularly important as there are a limited number of clinics that perform them. If the question on the ballot was approved, women would have to seek care outside of New Mexico and outside of the south western United States (the other two destinations for late-term abortions reside in Colorado and Maryland).
However, in a somewhat close-call (55-45 %) reproductive justice advocates prevailed by voting against the question on the ballot and thereby kept the ability to provide late-term abortions to women in Albuquerque.
4. Wichita Clear Channel Campaign
In order to advertise the South Wind Women’s Center’s services, the clinic crafted an ad to be placed on the radio station KZSN, a Clear Channel Station. The Ad read, “At South Wind Women’s Center, our physicians are committed to providing quality reproductive healthcare in Wichita. Each physician is board-certified in family medicine or obstetrics in gynecology. Between them, they have over 50 years of experience and dedication, ensuring women are able to ensure the care they need when they need it.”
The Clear Channel banned the ad on their station because it had according to them the advertisement infringed upon their “decency standards.” Alongside, South Wind Women’s Center and Trust Women, the group Women, Action and Media (WAM!) also showed their support by advocating for the South Wind Women’s Center to have access to airtime. After months of discussion, Clear Channel came to a decision and allowed South Wind Women’s Center’s ad to be played.
3. December 6th Counter Action
Some of the best moments this year have come from the great community support of Trust Women and the South Wind Women’s Center. One such action came on December 6th as advocates of the South Wind Women’s Center and Trust Women gathered outside of the clinic in a counter-protest. 30 demonstrators came together responding to a “planned prayer and vigil by several local Catholic high schools and Representative Tim Huelskamp.”
Many local community leaders, including Julie Burkhart, the Founder and Executive Director of Trust Women Foundation and South Wind Women’s Center, came and spoke in approval of the counter-demonstration. With signs, support, holiday songs, noise makers, and great support the counter-demonstrators were successful in causing disruption during Representative Huelskamps’ speech showing that an effort to deter to the services of the Center would not go silently.
In addition to those who attended the protest, there were many at home that also made an impact by donating as a part of the “Pledge a Protester” program. Through this service, the center raised $300 to go towards helping women who cannot afford abortion care. Efforts like these can help women in Trust Women’s and the South Wind Women’s Center’s local community who cannot access the proper care. Please continue to make a donation to help those in need this holiday season!
2. Re-zoning Effort
In February 2013, Trust Women was in the middle of reopening the South Wind Women’s Clinic (previously operated by Dr. George Tiller). While there was great support from the local community, the clinic was also met with great backlash as many attempted to deter the reconstruction of the clinic. These persons tried any means possible in order to shut the clinic down including false reports there were incorrect building permits and harassment to Julie Burkhart, Trust Women’s CEO.
In particular, one tactic that these persons sought to implement was the effort “re-zone” the clinic. Their claim was that the clinic would bring back the police activity in the area that was present when the clinic was open during Tiller’s days. However, as RH Reality Check discusses this claim is extremely weak and backwards as the police activity was present in the area due to the harassment of the clinic by antis.
In a meeting with the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, Kansas Right to Life Development Director, David Gittrich, brought a petition forth of 14,000 signatures in support of the re-zoning. However, the Committee rejected this action and Trust Women and South Wind Women’s Center’s staff continued with their plans to reopen the center!
1. Opening the South Wind’s Women Center
And Trust Women’s top moment this year…. was the opening of the South Wind Women’s Center. Despite efforts to deter its progress, great community support and the leadership of Julie Burkhart were able to make the opening possible. Originally operated by Dr. Tiller until his death, Trust Women raised $1 million dollars in order to reopen the clinic. The Center offers a variety of services for women including abortions (up to the 14th week), “pap smears, breast exams, birth control prescriptions, and prenatal care.” In the past, women have had to travel for over three hours to get the medical attention that they need. The South Wind Women’s Center gives women the ability to access the proper treatment and healthcare by giving them the opportunity to make decisions about their futures. I personally can’t wait to see the successes of the South Wind Women’s Center in many more years to come.