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If Passed, New State Standards May Force Abortion Clinics to Shut Down

Earlier this week, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) vetoed legislation that would require the state Department of Health and Environment to license abortion clinics and subject them to staffing, equipment, and facility standards. Among the requirements are clinic room size specifications and standards for equipment, lighting, ventilation, and examination tables, reported Kaisernetwork. In addition, the measure mandates that the clinic medical director is a physician, a licensed nurse monitors any physician’s exam, the clinic has ultrasound equipment if it performs abortions beyond 12 weeks, and the doctor asks specific questions when obtaining patient history. Opponents of the bill warn that resulting costs and renovations could hinder or ultimately close clinic operations. Sebelius told the Wichita Eagle, the facility requirements are extraneous, saying, “I have long fought to make sure that doctors and patients, not insurance companies and not the Kansas Legislature, make decisions regarding an individual’s health care procedures.”

House Speaker Doug Mays (R) hopes to override the veto, seeking two-thirds majorities in both chambers, when the legislature reconvenes April 30, according to the Associated Press. The Senate and House earlier this month, approved the bill 24-16 and 87-33, respectively, according to Kaisernetwork.

In February, the Virginia House passed similar clinic legislation. However, the bill was defeated in Senate committee, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Sources:

Associated Press 4/21/03; Kaisernetwork.org 4/7/03, 4/23/03; Wichita Eagle 4/22/03; NARAL Feminist Daily News Wire

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