Kansas governor praises 'Summer of Mercy' protests

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is comparing past "Summer of Mercy" anti-abortion protests in Wichita to the abolitionist movement that helped end slavery.

Brownback made the comparison Wednesday evening in his annual State of the State address. The speech was broadcast statewide on public television and radio.

The Republican governor is a strong abortion opponent. He said the "Summer of Mercy" protests arose when Kansans could no longer tolerate what he called the death of innocent children.

The protests in 1991 and 2001 were outside the late Dr. George Tiller's clinic in Wichita. Tiller was killed in 2009 by a man professing strong anti-abortion views.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri CEO Peter Brownlie called Brownback's remarks insensitive and said many Kansans saw the "Summer of Mercy" as an embarrassment.

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