Anti-choice activists once more learn that they can stop abortion by threatening to cause as much noise and disturbance as possible where ever the procedure is performed. This time, their target is doctor in Wichita who has been trained to perform safe medical abortions, as the city has been lacking in providers since the murder of Dr. George Tiller two years ago.
After learning that Dr. Mila Means received training, anti-abortion activists contacted her landlord and told them they would protest the clinic, affecting all of the businesses in the building, unless the landlord filed for an injunction to keep Dr. Means from providing abortions there.
A Kansas physician has agreed not to perform abortions at the space she leases in a Wichita office complex, delaying a lawsuit by her landlord, according to court documents made public Monday.
Dr. Mila Means asserts in the documents that she is not performing abortions at the site and does not presently intend to do so. Means said she is seeking alternative office space for her medical practice. She also agreed to give Foliage Development 30-days notice if she later decides to perform abortions, so that a hearing on a temporary injunction could be held.
The development company filed a lawsuit earlier this month arguing that performing abortions at the multi-tenant office building would be a disruption and nuisance to other tenants and create an unsafe environment. Following the agreement with Means, Sedgwick County District Judge Douglas Roth dissolved a temporary restraining order and canceled a hearing for a temporary injunction that had been scheduled for Tuesday. All court proceedings in the case were stayed for six months.
“She is not performing abortions at that site at the time being and really doesn’t intend to and is looking for alternative space, so there wasn’t much of a reason to have a hearing,” her attorney, Lee Thompson, said. “The attorneys were able to resolve that by agreement for the time being, preserving everyone’s rights if down the line it becomes an issue again.”
Anti-choice activists don’t even need to actually protest anymore — just the threat of their protesting combined with well-placed allies means that they can stop women from having abortions simply by cutting off their access.
Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue, an anti-choice extremist group, was subpoenaed to testify in the lawsuit before it was put on hold. Newman was no doubt expected to detail the types of protesting, yelling, praying, signage, etc. that could be expected in front of the building, as well as how their sidewalk harassment would affect any customers or employees of the rest of the businesses in the building.
If this “pre-protest” lawsuit can work to stop doctors from performing abortions in Wichita, what is to stop anti-abortion groups from just threatening action in other states to shut down new, or even current providers throughout the country?