Workers Vanguard No. 896

3 August 2007


Down With Anti-Abortion Crusade!

Defend Dr. George Tiller!

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

We print below a July 14 letter from the Partisan Defense Committee to Kansas attorney general Paul J. Morrison protesting the legal persecution of Dr. George Tiller. Due to a state law restricting late-term abortion procedures, Dr. Tiller faces up to 19 years in prison and $47,500 in fines. Since the charges were brought against him, anti-abortion fanatics have continued to harass Tiller and lay siege to his clinic.

Dr. Tiller is challenging the constitutionality of the law, one of the myriad measures enacted nationally since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to effectively cut off access to abortions for large numbers of women, particularly the young and poor. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a 2003 law criminalizing a rarely used second-trimester abortion procedure. As we wrote in “Supreme Court Rolls Back Abortion Rights” (WV No. 891, 27 April): “What is urgently needed is militant struggle to defend and extend women’s rights, including the right to abortion…. We fight for free abortion and contraception on demand as part of a program of free, quality health care for all.” Attacks on abortion rights are part of a broad government onslaught against the working class and the oppressed. It is in the interests of the labor movement and all defenders of democratic rights to take up the defense of Dr. Tiller and other targets of the anti-abortion crusade.

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We demand that the state of Kansas drop the 19 misdemeanor charges filed against Dr. George Tiller alleging that he violated a law that requires the approval of a second “independent” physician for some types of late-term abortions. These charges resulted from a 2004 subpoena, which Tiller fought, of private medical records for 90 women who had been provided abortions. The then attorney general attempted to seize the records under the guise of investigating “child rape,” but later he admitted he was really fishing for evidence that Tiller’s clinic had violated late-term abortion statutes. Hands off all clinic records!

The current charges against Dr. Tiller are the continuation of decades of legal and extralegal harassment of this courageous abortion provider, who operates one of the few clinics in the country that offer late-term abortion procedures. His clinic has been the target of decades of pickets by anti-abortion fanatics and was bombed in 1986, forcing him to move his facility temporarily to secret quarters. In the summer of 1991 as part of a nationwide rampage against abortion providers, reactionary mobs descended on Wichita for six weeks, attempting to shut down the clinics. In 1993 Tiller survived being shot several times in an assassination attempt. This July 4th in the middle of the night his clinic was vandalized and flooded.

The state’s persecution of George Tiller is part of an all-out assault on abortion rights which anti-woman bigots have sought to overturn for the last three decades through both legislative and judicial means while unleashing “god squads” to terrorize patients and clinic staff and murder doctors. Stop the witchhunt against George Tiller! Drop the charges!