Analysis

Abortion center owner says no one respects her business

It’s just so hard to get the same respect as her medical colleagues, abortion facility owner Julie Burkhart laments, saying, “We are only asking to be treated like any other business that provides health care.”

Burkhart’s plight is detailed in a sympathetic article on Bloomberg.com, entitled, “The Most Difficult Business You Could Run: Why it’s so hard to run an abortion clinic–And why so many are closing.” Writer Meagan Winter tells Burkhart’s story of trying to buy an ad on Wichita’s NPR radio station, KMUW, which station manager Debra Fraser refused to run. Burkhart appealed the decision. It was in her appeal letter that she made the comment about wanting to be treated like any health care business.

Burkhart’s abortion business is infamous. South Wind Women’s Center is the new name given to the late, infamous George Tiller’s late-term abortion facility. Tiller was Burkhart’s mentor.

The article on Bloomberg.com makes Burkhart sound like a victim running a typical nonprofit:

The stigma around abortion prevents Burkhart’s nonprofit from performing many of the everyday transactions essential to businesses. She and other clinic owners have had trouble securing mortgages, medical insurance, contractors, and someone willing to deliver Band-Aids and bottles of water. Especially in rural and conservative regions, a wide range of companies and organizations decline to work with abortion providers, either for reasons of personal conscience or because of fears that being associated with abortion will cost them business.

So this was the reason she wanted to sponsor the station for a day: to help boost business–and PR.  Ironically, however, while Burkhart gripes about wanting to be treated like any other medical provider, she opposes having to play by the same rules as other medical providers. The article notes:

In recent years states have enacted hundreds of laws designed by activists to make it more difficult—and more expensive—to perform abortions. Twenty-two states require abortion clinics to follow codes comparable to those of ambulatory surgical centers; at least 11 states specify the width of clinic rooms or hallways. Many clinics struggled to stay in the black well before legislation required them to remodel their corridors.

These regulations, of course, are the same regulations required of other medical clinics, so it would seem that Burkhart wants to be treated like other medical providers when it fits her purposes–but not when it doesn’t.

Burkhart’s efforts to sponsor the station were about spending pocket change. Melissa Conway, from Texas Right to Life, is quoted as saying:

Their focus is where the dollar is. It’s not protecting women. Especially within the last few years, the cost of abortion services is increasing, and so it’s a very profitable business.

The article then defends abortionists, saying:

The numbers suggest the opposite. The average amount paid for an abortion nationwide—about $450 for the most common procedures—has been relatively stagnant for decades, despite inflation in other areas of medicine and higher costs.

However, regardless of what it may cost in other places, Burkhart’s fees for the most common procedures nationwide–first trimester abortions– is $200 above the national average. Both first trimester and medication abortions are quoted at $650 on Burkhart’s website.

South Wind abortion pricesThe fee for sponsoring the station for a day is $480, which equals about 75% of the fee to abort just one baby at Burkhart’s facility.

The article isn’t so much about Burkhart’s lament at getting treated as a real medical facility, but it’s a sympathetic pro-abortion piece that sends the message, ‘poor abortion providers are out here doing a service and those mean pro-lifers are passing oodles of laws and medical regulations that make it harder for babies to die.’

Station manager Fraser had been down the abortion sponsorship road before:

Fraser had previously worked at a Texas station where listeners frequently called to complain about Planned Parenthood’s sponsorship. As a news organization reliant on listener support, KMUW couldn’t afford to create the perception that it was “taking a stand” on abortion, Fraser says. “If I were you,” she remembers telling Burkhart, “I’d be really upset about this. But I can’t help you.”

Burkhart is no stranger to abortion advocacy since she entered the political side of it as a college student. But her hopes that abortion would become easier, and that her business would become respectable, are dashed.

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