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KS Health Department Lessens Abortion Clinic Requirements

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has agreed to remove some of its proposed regulations on abortion providers, including regulations which specify the size and temperature of patients’ rooms. Nevertheless, the majority of the provisions have been upheld, such as that which requires 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.

Bonnie Scott Jones, an attorney from the Center for Reproductive Rights representing the abortion clinics in a lawsuit against the state, indicated that the clinics will
likely proceed with their legal challenge. She stated, “Although the regulations have changed in some ways, they remain unacceptable, imposing unnecessary and unreasonable requirements that will prevent physicians from providing the full range of reproductive health services to the women of Kansas, and running roughshod over patient confidentiality by giving the state broad access to private medical records.”

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.

National Partnership for Women and Families 10/24/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/8/11