After a provider’s murder, women in Wichita, Kansas, have had to travel hundreds of miles for an abortion. Julie Burkhart intends to change that, reports Allison Yarrow.
WICHITA, KANSAS—Nationally, the abortion war is over, and the “pro-choice” forces have won. A record 70 percent of Americans now support the Roe v. Wade decision, reached 40 years ago this week, that legalized the procedure nationally.
But at the state level, it’s a different picture, as the Republicans who swept into many of the nation’s statehouses in the 2010 Tea Party revolution have passed an ever-increasing number of provisions—a record 92 provisions in 24 states in 2011—creating onerous regulations for abortion providers, raising the bar for what women must do before having the procedure, and cutting off Medicaid coverage of its expense. Those pressures, along with the prospect of protests or even violence, have discouraged new doctors from entering the field, so that the number of providers has plunged by a third since the early ’80s to less than 1,800 nationwide, leading Time magazine to declare this month that “at the state level, abortion-rights activists are unequivocally losing.”