Wichita police ready for protests at women’s clinic

A Wichita police patrol car sits outside the Trust Women South Wind Women's Center in east Wichita in preparation for anti-abortion protests on July 16, 2016. (Photo: KSN/Shardaa Gray)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police are on hand at a women’s health clinic in east Wichita as anti-abortion protesters plan to gather this weekend to protest during the Summer of Mercy anniversary event. The original Summer of Mercy in 1991 resulted in thousands of anti-abortion protesters being arrested.

Police barricades are set up outside the Southwind Women's Center in east Wichita in preparation for anti-abortion protests on July 16, 2016. (Photo: KSN/Shardaa Gray)
Police barricades are set up outside the Trust Women South Wind Women’s Center in east Wichita in preparation for anti-abortion protests on July 16, 2016. (Photo: KSN/Shardaa Gray)

The 2016 event is being organized by the Christian fundamentalist group Operation Save America and will focus on the Trust Women South Wind Women’s Center in the 5100 block of E. Kellogg Drive. This weekend’s event will mark the 25th anniversary of the original protests.

“We want to minister to women that have had abortions. We want to reach out to those that are in the abortion industry,” said Operation Save America co-leader, Michelle Herzog.

It’s a message leaders want Wichitans to know.

“We just want to reach out to the public to show them that this is an atrocity before God almighty. This is an abomination before God.” Herzog said.

They’re hoping to spread the message to the public and clinics in Wichita. For clinics like South Wind, their concern is the patients.

“Our primary concern of course is the safety of our patients and our staff. We are just trying to remain as much as business as usual during this time,” said Trust Women South Wind Women’s Center spokesperson, Deb Gruver.

And they’re prepared for the prayer service that is expected to take place outside of the clinic in the coming days. They took security into their own hands, as well as months preparation with the Wichita Police Department.

“It’s not uncommon for folks to communicate with us about their event so we can help them because they are also worried about counter protesters,” said Wichita Police Captain, Brian White.

The Wichita Police Department has spent months putting together a 60-page plan that aims to ensure everyone’s rights are protected and everyone is safe. The department has assigned about 100 to 150 police officers to the operation.

Capt. White says police aren’t anticipating an event like the 1991 Summer of Mercy, but they have to be prepared for all possibilities.

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