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Archive for Friday, October 21, 2011

Kansas eases rules on abortion clinics

October 21, 2011, 12:26 p.m. Updated October 22, 2011, 12:23 a.m.

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— Kansas officials are easing contentious new regulations governing abortion clinics, but the move may not be enough to placate abortion providers who have already persuaded a federal judge to block earlier versions, The Associated Press has learned.

The AP obtained an advance copy of the new permanent rules that will take effect Nov. 14. A comparison with the temporary version of the rules shows Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials have removed some of the provisions that have been criticized during a public comment period and in a federal lawsuit.

The revised regulations no longer specify required procedure and patient room sizes and give clinics wider latitude to adjust a room’s temperature. They also pare down the list of required medications and equipment doctors need to have on hand and no longer require clinics to have a large janitorial room per each procedure room.

But the bulk of the original provisions remain, including rules that require abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic and that require patient medical records to be available at the clinic for state health department officials to review.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Miranda Steele said in an email that while the temporary regulations were reasonable based on industry standards, the public comment period served its purpose.

“KDHE took into account the suggestions and input received during the public comment period and made some changes to the regulations, but maintaining the same intent — to ensure the safety of patients,” Steele said.

U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia in July blocked the temporary regulations from taking effect after abortion providers said the rules would have forced the closure of two abortion clinics that would have had to make extensive building renovations in order to comply. Murguia has since ordered attorneys to submit briefs by Oct. 28 analyzing the similarities or differences between the permanent and temporary regulations.

Attorneys representing the two clinics — the Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park and the Aid for Women clinic in Kansas City — indicated the changes would do little to end the legal fight.

“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,” said who represents the Overland Park clinic. “We are carefully evaluating the changes now, and we are considering all legal options.”

Attorney Cheryl Pilate, who represents the Kansas City clinic, said they also are evaluating the permanent regulations and assessing their impact on clinic operations.

“At this point, we are keeping all of our legal options open and will take action as appropriate, in the near future,” she said in an email.

The new clinic licensing regulations are part of a wave of new restrictions on abortion this year in Kansas, where abortion opponents have capitalized on the election of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, an outspoken abortion opponent. Stricter licensing regulations were vetoed in 2003 and 2005 by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, an abortion rights Democrat who is now U.S. health and human services secretary.

Comments

kansanjayhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

The evidence that the regulations in place were not working is clear. Abuses at Kansas abortion clinics including unsanitary conditions and mice or rats in the hallway have already been proven! Once again more personal attacks and no discussion of the issue itself makes it hard to take liberals here seriously-- accusations that the Governor and the Christian community have "very tenuous" relationships with reality is an example.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 5 months ago

It really amazes me that Brownback thought he could shove this stuff through the legislature and not face a protracted court battle costing the state god knows how much money in legal fees. The system of regulations the state had was adequate and working. It was the same system of regulations that governed every other outpatient free standing surgical clinic. They want doctors to have admitting privileges. OK. So long as they require the same of dentists pulling teeth, podiatrists removing plantar warts and eye doctors in Lasik vision centers. Some of the regs in this new "law" (which isn't really a law, it's targeted harassment of a certain type of health provider) aren't even required of hospitals and medical centers by the JCAHO.

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Ray Parker 2 years, 6 months ago

Abortions in Arizona declined by 30% immediately when the Abortion Consent Act, passed in 2009, took effect this August, after being stalled by a baby-hating judge’s order. The new state law mandates that minors seeking to contract the mangling, dismembering, poisoning, or beheading of their baby must provide a notarized parental signature, that mothers must be provided with full, accurate information by a doctor before the killing, that only doctors can commit abortions, and that no doctor can be forced to commit such a slaughter if it violates his or her religious or moral beliefs. Abolition now.

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