Archive for Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kansas abortion providers sue to stop new state rules

June 28, 2011, 4:26 p.m. Updated June 28, 2011, 5:33 p.m.


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— Two doctors who perform abortions in Kansas filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to block a new licensing law and regulations that abortion rights advocates fear will make Kansas the first state in the country without an abortion provider.

Dr. Herbert Hodes and his daughter, Dr. Traci Nauser, argue that the new licensing process for abortion providers is a "sham" and the law and accompanying regulations are designed to stop the state's three abortion providers. One provider has already been denied a license.

Hodes and Nauser offer abortions and other services at the Center for Women's Health in Overland Park in suburban Kansas City, and their clinic was scheduled to be inspected by health department workers Wednesday. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, said the doctors cancelled that inspection.

The law takes effect Friday. If a clinic doesn't have a license by then, it won't be able to perform abortions under the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's new regulations.

"At every step of the challenged process, KDHE implemented the licensing provisions ... in ways that made it impossible for existing medical practices to obtain a license by the effective date," the lawsuit said.

Supporters of the new law and regulations argue that both are aimed at protecting patients from substandard care. But abortion providers and their backers don't trust the licensing process because Gov. Sam Brownback, an anti-abortion Republican who took office in January, and abortion opponents pushed the law through the GOP-controlled Legislature.

The law requires abortion providers to obtain annual licenses, and the health department regulations tell providers what drugs and equipment they must have available and set other standards, including the temperatures for procedure and recovery rooms.

Abortion providers contend that the health department is unfairly rushing the new regulations, giving them less than two weeks to comply with specific provisions.

In their lawsuit, Hodes and Nauser argue that the new regulations are stricter than rules for other health care providers. The suit claims the state has violated the rights of their Center for Women's Health and its doctors to due legal process.

The lawsuit was filed against Robert Moser, the state's secretary of health and environment; Attorney General Derek Schmidt, whose office was involved in drafting the regulations; and the local prosecutor, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is awaiting word on whether its clinic, also in Overland Park, will receive a license after a two-day inspection last week. The health department has denied a license for the state's other abortion provider, the Aid for Women clinic in Kansas City, Kan., without an inspection, based on information in its application.

Planned Parenthood and Aid for Women also have been contemplating lawsuits against the licensing law and the health department's regulations.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, was confident the law and the regulations would withstand judicial scrutiny. She said the regulations are similar to rules in South Carolina that the U.S. Supreme Court let stand in 2003.

"Kansas abortion clinics claim that the state's attempt at oversight is 'political' because of Governor Brownback, but their hypocrisy is on full display," she said. "Three South Carolina abortion clinics have managed to live with the same law there for over a decade."


Centerville 2 years, 9 months ago

We'll just have to see if Schmidt is as willing to tamper with the courts as Morris and Six were.


Roland Gunslinger 2 years, 9 months ago

Just wanted to point out, if you haven't read the front page of the KC Star this morning, they are saying that surprise surprise none of the inspected clinics passed. Thus none will be granted an operating license.

This comes as no shock. When you write regulations framed around what you know clinics operating already can't meet it is no surprise when they don't pass the inspection.

This legislation had nothing to do with increasing safety and cleanliness standards. It had everything to do with shutting down existing operations.


Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 9 months ago

Note that none of the zealots preaching about "safety" have any concerns about safety for any other medical procedure.

There is nothing "safe" about mandated space standards for closets.

Impose these standards on other health care facilities and 2/3 of them shut down tomorrow.

But for some reason, the zealots don't want to shut down places like Jeff Colyer's plastic surgery mill.


Barclay 2 years, 9 months ago

How did taking a living, human baby from it's mother's womb ever become synonymous with women's health care? "I notice everyone who is in favor of abortion was allowed to be born." -Ronald Reagan from Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation.


mcneely 2 years, 9 months ago

I filed a complaint over a year ago after going to an infectious disease specialist. The office was dirty. The exam room had dust bunnies on the air vent, cracks in the counter top, the air smelled old, and the floor had carpet instead of tile. I've gotten around a dozen letters saying they were still investigating. The federal government finished their investigation about a HIPPA violation I filed at the same time in two months. Meanwhile this doctor is still seeing people who have compromised immune systems and or wounds that do not heal in the same dirty office. It is not right to single out one type of provider. The providers in question should be treated fairly. If these providers are shut down what will people do? Get an abortion in an alley? Not a very sanitary or safe option is it?


kansanjayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Pro-life and pro-choice persons should all support these reasonable public health regulations. Due to unsanitary conditions at some abortion clinics including the one in KCK these clinics must now meet a min. standard of care. It is about time that the State of Kansas stop covering up a cowering to these abortionists and represent the people of Kansas who want clean clinics not rats in the hallways!


Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 9 months ago

I had my wisdom teeth removed last week and it was 74 degrees while i was in that room.

I demanded the office immediately be inspected by KDHE, but I haven't heard back yet. Think of the risk to my health, and those people just don't care.

But oh, they'll go inspect these abortion clinics twice every 12 months. Meanwhile, they inspect daycare facilities caring for infants once every 18 months.

Remember that next time you visit Lieutenant Governor Dr. Jeff Colyer's office for a little rhinoplasty and there's not a janitor's closet in the room. Where is the safety?


Ray Parker 2 years, 9 months ago

The new laws are designed to protect women and young girls from the criminal abuses and exploitations they have been experiencing from these abortionist quacks, a vital interest of Kansas government.


verity 2 years, 9 months ago

Of course there is going to be a lawsuit. DId anyone ever doubt it? And we, the taxpayers, are going to pay for this nonsense.

Where are the jobs, Mr. Brownback? Where are the jobs? (Hint: not the ones for your out-of-state cronies, jobs for Kansans that pay a living wage.)

Brownback must not be praying for jobs or we would have them already.


PaladKik 2 years, 9 months ago

On the one hand, Brownback's election fraud law, is chastised by people as voter surppression, and on the other hand, chastise him for abortion rules. Abortion is voter surpression of future voters. So voter surppression is bad sometimes and good other times. I think people just hate Brownback.


musicstudent 2 years, 9 months ago

Has LJWorld posted the exact differences in regulations? I am curious what the new requirements are and why they are so much harder to meet than what was previously required.


Chris Golledge 2 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how people would react if Brownback and the GOP had pushed new regulations on coal power plants that effectively shut them down. After all, we deserve to know that our coal plants are safe, no?


BOULEVARDWHEAT 2 years, 9 months ago

I do not approve of abortions. But I also don't approve of government intervention. I do not like to see Governors manipulate the legislation to promote their ideals, whether by direct laws or backwards legislation such as what has been put in place. Women will still get abortions, but this will only cause those women to do so either in other states or by unsafe methods.


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