Last year at a training camp for Planned Parenthood volunteers, we watched this performance. It has stuck with me ever since.
How lucky we were to get a surprise visit from Julie Burkhart this past Tuesday. Julie is an incredibly talented women and is the founder and executive director at Trust Women, an organization leading the fight for women’s reproductive rights in the Midwest and Southern areas of the United States. The organization aims to make women’s full access to reproductive healthcare, community support and an improved climate for discourse a reality.
Julie’s experiences cover an impressive range of involvement and activism. Julie worked at Dr. George Tiller‘s clinic in 1991, during the Summer of Mercy, which literally involved risking her life every day to go to work. Relentless protesters interfered with business and used outrageous tactics to make known their disagreement. Such experiences are what urged Julie in later years to target these areas for promoting women’s rights to proper care and information. These were the areas with the harshest stigmas and most dangerous social climates. The work she had set out for her was not going to be easy but she knew it was the most urgent.
The fight was not and is not about abortion, but rather about a woman’s rights to make her own decisions. Without access to informed healthcare, women in some of these areas of the country are without the resources necessary to choose for themselves. Today, Julie fights to help create fair legislation and social awareness of the injustices that happen every day, all over the country, as women seek access to information, birth control and care in times of crisis.
George Tiller was assassinated on May 31, 2009 by a protester of his work, begging the question, “How pro-life can these people really be?” Julie works in his memory to create a higher standard for women’s access to reproductive information and options in the South and Midwest.
Trust Women is only fifteen months old, but is quickly growing and gaining strength. Visit itrustwomen.org for current events, further information or to donate.
Dr. Erin Kenny & Julie Burkhart
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