July 5, 2011 — U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia on Friday issued a temporary injunction against a Kansas law that imposes licensing and inspection requirements on abortion clinics, the AP/USA Today reports. The injunction blocks enforcement of the law until a trial is held in a lawsuit filed by two of the state's abortion providers (AP/USA Today, 7/1).
The law, which would have taken effect July 1, requires abortion clinics to meet certain building standards, obtain licenses and undergo inspections. It also authorizes the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to write standards for buildings and equipment, issue annual licenses for abortion clinics, fine clinics for non-compliance and go to court to close clinics. The standards include stipulations that rooms and closets meet minimum size requirements, that rooms be kept at certain temperatures and that several types of drugs and supplies be kept on hand (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/29).
Murguia said that at least two women currently seeking abortion services would be harmed by not being able to choose a provider (AP/USA Today, 7/1).
Physicians Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, who provide gynecological and abortion services at the Center for Women's Health, initiated the lawsuit on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Kansas clinic Aid for Women joined the suit. Both clinics have been denied licenses (Cooper, Kansas City Star, 6/29).
Planned Parenthood Granted License
The health department announced Thursday that it has granted a license to a clinic operated by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, the New York Times reports.
Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said, "Notwithstanding that the regulations are burdensome and unnecessary, the findings of the inspection indicate what we have known and said throughout this process: Planned Parenthood operates with the highest standards of patient care and has rigorous safety procedures in place." Brownlie said that if the two other clinics close, "[i]t will be difficult for us to accommodate the volume of people they're seeing."
According to the Times, the Planned Parenthood clinic was denied a license earlier in the week, but after a Thursday inspection, the state reversed its decision. The clinic had secured additional equipment and made some procedural changes required by the new rules (Sulzberger, New York Times, 6/30).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.