On December 31, 2000, an unknown person fired at least 25 bullets into a suburban Kansas City abortion clinic. An FBI spokesperson reported that the shots appeared to have been fired after 2 a.m. from outside the clinic, located in the suburb of Overland Park, KS. The damage did not affect patient-care areas, and the clinic, which performs about 4,000 abortions a year, was able to reopen later that day for business.
Kansas clinics and physicians have been frequently targeted by anti-abortion extremists, including a firebombing in Independence, shots fired into an abortion providerís home in Overland Park, an attempted arson in Kansas City, a 1991 shooting in Springfield that left two staff members wounded, and the 1993 shooting of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita. Anti-abortion extremist Rachelle Shannon was convicted of Dr. Tillerís attempted murder and sentenced to 11 years in prison for that crime.
Local and federal law enforcement officials are investigating the crime as a violation of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. Violations of FACE, which was signed into law in 1994 by President Clinton, are investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department. Just before Christmas, President-elect George W. Bush named the virulent abortion opponent and former Missouri Republican senator John Ashcroft to head the Justice Department.
Persons with information about the Overland Park shooting can call (816) 474-TIPS; callers may remain anonymous and a reward of up to $1,000 is available.
Media Resources: Kansas City Star, January 2, 2001
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .