Imagine Being Harassed by Violent Right-Wing Lunatics Every Time You Go to Work -- Meet the Brave Doctors Who Risk Their Lives to Help Women
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Imagine having to go everywhere in a bulletproof vest. Having your personal information spread around the Internet, and in circles known to promote violence in their midst. Imagine knowing that your colleague, or the man whose office you now work in, was shot to death in church and that a vital movement cheers his killer on every day.
Imagine watching legislature after legislature pass bills designed to make your work uncomfortable or impossible.
And imagine going to work anyway, and becoming more and more determined despite all the obstacles.
That’s the story of many abortion providers in the wake of the murder of Dr. George Tiller as the new “Summer of Mercy 2.0” -- or more accurately, summer of harassment by right-wing extremists -- heats up.
The Washington Post recently caught up with doctor LeRoy Carhart, one of the few remaining doctors who openly provides late-term abortions. His new clinic in Maryland is now under seige by the same lunatics who harassed Dr. Tiller for years, the Operation Rescue folks and their extremist ilk.
LeRoy Carhart travels from his home in Nebraska almost every week to perform abortions at a clinic in Germantown, Md. He rarely stays at the same hotel twice. He rolls dice to pick the route he’ll take to work, because “the biggest part of security is not being predictable,” he said
And later in the piece, a picture of the security at Carhart’s new clinic:
Protesters holding graphic signs are a constant presence outside privately owned Reproductive Health Services clinic, which is tucked in a small office park in Germantown.
Carhart has installed two security cameras outside the clinic....Visitors to his Nebraska clinic have to walk through a metal detector, similar to those in airports; he would like to install one in Germantown.
Previous profiles of Carhart and Dr. Warren Hern, the only other doctor after Tiller’s death who performs late abortions with a similar high profile to Carhart, have been described in previous profiles as wearing protective vests and never eating out for more than half an hour, and having multiple bulletproof doors in their clinics. Dr. Hern has seen bricks and bullets fly through his window. Dr. Carhart had his entire farm burned down.
Still, Dr. Carhart, undeterred, is fighting back, attempting to marshal a “summer of choice” to counteract their “summer of mercy.” He believes, as do many activists, that ignoring these people may very well be at his peril.
In RH Reality Check, Kari Ann Rinker , of National Organization for Women (NOW), a pro-choicer from Wichita, Kansas, former home of Dr. Tiller’s clinic and the original “Summer of Mercy,” tells us what scars that summer has left on her town, and on women:
It’s hard to believe that this town was once home to five abortion clinics, while now there are none. It’s hard to believe that pro-choice Wichita has been fighting to protect this most vital of women’s rights since 1991. The original Summer of Mercy has left a permanent imprint on this community. It gave birth to a new breed of abortion obsessed politicians and terrorists...Their Summer of No Mercy took away our choices and our doctors. It effectually high-jacked our legislative process and our individual respect.
Activists in Wichita are trying to start a clinic to replace Dr. Tiller’s practice. In the meantime a new doctor, Dr. Mila Means, has announced plans to perform abortions in town, having purchased furniture and supplies from Tiller’s clinic. While less of a stalwart fighter than Dr. Carhart (her views on abortion have vacillated),
Means, who intends to perform only early-term abortions to supplement her private practice, is already experiencing the harassment that comes with the job.