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WICHITA, Kansas – The effort to rezone a Wichita clinic that provides abortions has now sparked some controversy among anti-abortion groups.
A statement made during a Wichita City Council meeting Tuesday caught the attention of a lot of people.
During the meeting, Mark Gietzen, the chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life, requested that the area that includes the South Wind Women’s Center be rezoned. It would force the clinic to move out.
He said one reason to rezone would be for the safety of nearby residents.
“There’s people that may be opposed to their relatives, child or whatever being aborted and the emotions run strong and sometimes people show up there with guns,” Gietzen said to the council.
In a press release, he also expressed concern that the concealed carry handgun law would likely increase the number of guns on the site.
Advocates for South Wind say the safety of their clients and staff is a top concern.
According to South Wind, the only time there was a shooting at the facility was more than 20 years ago. Since then, safety has been a priority outside and inside the building.
“If someone wants to come here and commit violence, they’re going to,” said Michael Moeder, Trust Women Foundation. “Rachelle ‘Shelley’ Shannon in 1993 came all the way from Oregon, got a car down in Oklahoma, came all the way up here and did shoot Dr. [George ] Tiller at the time. She didn’t have a Conceal and Carry permit at that time either.”
Both Operation Rescue and Kansans for Life have distanced themselves from the statements made Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Gietzen has clarified his earlier comments, saying he is a strong Second Amendment supporter.
“Being pro-life and a supporter of the Second Amendment is entirely consistent, because in both cases, the preservation of human life is the paramount concern,” Gietzen said in a released statement Thursday.