Archive for Friday, April 1, 2005

Two abortion bills sent to governor

KCK doctor’s license suspension upheld for full board’s review

April 1, 2005


— Two bills pushed by abortion opponents cleared the Legislature on Thursday, the same day a doctor whose Kansas City, Kan., clinic is embroiled in the debate failed to have his license reinstated.

Both bills passed the House and went to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. One measure, approved 88-34, would impose new regulations on abortion clinics. The other, approved 89-35, would require doctors performing abortions on girls under 14 to preserve fetal tissue as evidence for possible criminal prosecutions of child rapists.

The House votes came as a Board of Healing Arts hearing officer reviewed an emergency suspension of Dr. Krishna Rajanna's license. The suspension began Friday, after an investigator who made two visits in three days said the clinic wasn't clean and questioned its handling of medications.

Rajanna sought to show that his clinic is safe. But the hearing officer, Nancy Welsh, a Topeka-area doctor and board member, decided his license would remain suspended for at least another 30 days and until the full board can review his case.

Abortion rights supporters contend Rajanna's case shows that the board provides adequate oversight of abortion doctors. Anti-abortion activists argue the case demonstrates the need for the clinic regulation bill, noting evidence on Rajanna first emerged in 2003.

Sebelius, who supports abortion rights, has said repeatedly she probably won't sign a bill dealing only with abortion. She vetoed a similar measure in 2003. But the governor has said she would support regulation of all surgeries performed in doctor's offices and clinics under anesthesia.

The second bill approved Thursday by the House is designed to preserve evidence of potential child rapes and would require abortion doctors to send fetal tissue to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for DNA testing.

But Burkhart said a bill combatting child rape also would apply to crisis pregnancy centers, hospitals, obstetricians, gynecologists and family doctors, not just abortion doctors. Critics noted a patient's name and address, as well as the names and addresses of parents or guardians, would be forwarded to the KBI.

Sebelius hasn't taken a position, spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said.

More late-term abortions were performed in the state last year than in 2003, even as fewer total pregnancies were terminated, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Thursday.The agency said Kansas doctors performed 11,427 abortions in 2004, the lowest number reported since 1996. The figure was 11,697 in 2003.In both 2003 and 2004, less than 1 percent of patients were under 15, but about 17 percent were from 15 through 19. More than half of all patients were in their 20s in both years.The report said 48 percent of Kansas abortion doctors' patients last year came from outside the state, the bulk of them from Missouri.Source: Associated Press

Commenting has been disabled for this item.