Despite the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s decision to remove some of its proposed regulations on abortion providers, three doctors who perform abortions in Kansas announced that they will continue their challenge to the state’s abortion law in court. Earlier this week, the Kansas Health Department announced that it would abandon regulations that specify the size and temperature of patients’ rooms.
Nevertheless, it upheld the majority of the provisions, such as requirements that abortion providers be licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which is authorized to regulate buildings and equipment for abortion clinics and to conduct inspections of the clinics twice yearly. The regulations would also still require that only a physician could dispense medicine, which would prevent physician’s assistants from administering over-the-counter pain medication, and mandate that all health records be made available to the health department, which critics point out would violate patient privacy.
Bonnie Scott Jones, an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights who is representing the plaintiffs, stated, “They made some important changes, which is good, but unfortunately, they have left a lot in that is unacceptable. They’re still extremely burdensome in multiple ways, so they still do need to be challenged.”
The law, signed by Governor Sam Brownback (R) in May, requires that abortion clinics comply with a list of regulations, approximately 36 pages long, sent out in mid-June by Brownback’s administration to abortion providers. The regulations stipulate hundreds of details including the minimum square footage of janitors’ closets and the temperature range for procedure and recovery rooms (68 to 73 degrees and 70 to 75 degrees, respectively).
In July, US District Court Judge Carlos Murguia blocked the law from going into effect until the case is settled. The law would have shut down all but one abortion provider in the state: Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
Huffington Post 10/27/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 10/24/11