WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A demonstration planned by a Roman Catholic diocese in Kansas that would have blocked the only entrance to a Wichita abortion clinic on Saturday was canceled after a judge put a hold on the city permit that would have allowed it.
Earlier this year, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita was granted a permit through the city’s Parks and Recreation and police departments to close the street in front of the Trust Women clinic, the Wichita Eagle reported. The diocese had planned to hold a “Mass for Life” demonstration Saturday morning that would have blocked the entrance to the clinic while leaving open the entrance to another clinic on the street that seeks to dissuade people from getting abortions.
A judge on Friday granted a request for a temporary restraining order until the Wichita City Council holds a hearing to address objections to the street closure from the Trust Women clinic and another nearby business. The clinic is normally closed for business on Saturdays but sometimes opens for appointments on weekends, as well as works on administrative and cleaning tasks on Saturdays, the Eagle reported.
Operators of the Trust Women clinic said they learned of the planned street closure last month and filed an objection with the city. When no hearing was called to address objections to the permit, the clinic sought the restraining order.
The legal battle comes more than a year after Kansas voters decisively affirmed abortion rights in the conservative state.
Wichita has often served as the epicenter of conflict over abortion rights. The Trust Women Clinic was founded by George Tiller, a Wichita abortion provider who was shot to death in 2009 by an anti-abortion extremist.