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Published On: Thu, Apr 20th, 2017

Kansas: Pro-lifers backed by Thomas More Society after attacks outside of George Tiller’s former facility

The Wichita, Kansas, abortion clinic once owned by the late abortionist George Tiller has been at the center of several attacks against individuals speaking out for the sanctity of human life. Most recently, abortion facility security guard Carl Swinney was convicted of assaulting Jennifer McCoy after he brutally attacked her in front of her terrified children outside the clinic. McCoy is the fourth person whose rights have been assailed by abortionist Julie Burkhart or her staff outside the South Wind Women’s Center. The Thomas More Society assisted McCoy in securing Swinney’s prosecution, defended pro-life advocate Mark Gietzen and the Kansas Coalition for Life, is currently defending David Schmidt, and is representing Pastor Mark Holick in a federal court case against abortionist Burkhart.

McCoy and Gietzen are members of the Kansas Coalition for Life. For many years, they have joined other members in daily vigils outside the abortion clinic. In an always-peaceful routine, they arrive in the morning, stand holding signs or stand near signs placed on the ground, and take all the signs with them when they leave eight hours later.

Participants in the “March for life” walk along Concord Avenue in Knoxville, Tennessee, photo Michael Stansberry via wikimedia commons

The latest round of conflicts began when clinic owner Burkhart obtained a fraudulent protection order against Pastor Holick. Pastor Holick fought the order for two years, at great personal cost, and Burkhart was eventually forced to dismiss the invalid case. (Link to Federal Court in Favor of Pastor Holick: https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Order-in-Favor-of-Holick.pdf)

In 2016, Burkhart convinced City of Wichita authorities to come to her abortion facility, forcibly confiscate a large number of pro-life signs, and press criminal charges against Mr. Gietzen.

In quick succession, Pastor Holick filed suit in federal court against Burkhart to recover his losses from her baseless protection order, Mrs. McCoy was attacked by Swinney, and Mr. Schmidt (who is elderly and largely blind) was robbed by another South Wind security guard, John Rayburn, who brazenly took his sign from him on the public right of way, despite  Schmidt’s obvious objection and physical resistance. On account of Mr. Schmidt’s reasonable resistance to Rayburn’s thuggery, Rayburn then had Mr. Schmidt charged with assault.

Niether Holick, Gietzen, McCoy, nor Schmidt did anything illegal or even unreasonable. Rather, they have suffered blatant abuse at the hands of abortionist Burkhart and those assisting her. But under the representation of Thomas More Society attorney Martin Cannon, Mrs. McCoy secured the prosecution and conviction of Swinney, Mr. Gietzen was found not guilty, and the city was ordered to return the coalition’s many signs. Cannon also joined with local attorney Don McKinney on Pastor Holick’s federal court case, and the two have defeated a multicount motion to dismiss by Burkhart’s legal team, so the case is now on its way to trial. Cannon and local attorney Peter Orsi are currently preparing for Mr. Schmidt’s jury trial, and fully expect to vindicate him of the baseless assault charge.

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago and Omaha, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.

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