A woman’s right to choose in Kansas may soon be blown away like dust in the wind. The Associated Press reports that the State Rules and Regulations Board unanimously approved abortion restrictions that will bring Kansas that much closer to becoming the first state in the nation without a single abortion provider. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment can begin enforcing the new rules as early as Friday.
Kansas City abortion providers file federal lawsuit
Currently, all three of Kansas’ abortion providers are located in the Kansas City area. These providers have joined together in a federal lawsuit against state regulators in an effort to block the new Kansas abortion rules. The new regulations, which the providers believe are overly restrictive and aimed at shutting down abortion services, direct providers as to which equipment and drugs must be in stock, as well as what the specific temperature must be in procedure and recovery areas.
None of the three remaining abortion clinics in Kansas City, including Planned Parenthood, Aid for Women and the Center for Women’s Health, currently meet the State Rules and Regulations Board guidelines.
Not enough closet space
Dr. Herbert Hodes of the Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park sees the change as a purely political hatchet job:
“The obvious origin of these regulations are certainly non-medical, as shown by the equipment and drugs that we’re required to have on hand that are outmoded, inefficient, and beneath the standard of care,” he told local public radio station KCUR 89.3 FM.
According to Hodes’ co-worker and daughter Dr. Traci Nauser, the entire Center for Women’s Health will have to be rebuilt under the new rules, as the facility’s closet space (among other factors) does not meet revised specifications.
Dr. Robert Moser of the Kansas Department of Health says patient safety and standard of care were central to regulatory process. If all abortion providers in Kansas are shut down, the closest clinic location will be in Columbia, Mo.
Abortion, by the numbers
Compiled research indicates that one in three U.S. women will have an abortion by age 45. Of those, 85 percent are unmarried, 69 percent economically disadvantaged and 73 percent religiously affiliated. No single ethnic group makes up a majority of nationwide abortions.
In Kansas, 61,900 of 553,596 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2008. Seventeen percent of the pregnancies ended in induced abortions, representing approximately 1 percent of all U.S. abortions.
Under restrictions that were put in place in January 2011, abortion providers in Kansas must do as follows:
- Ensure that the parents of a minor are notified before an abortion is provided
- Ensure the woman has received state-directed counseling – which includes information designed to discourage abortion – and had at least 24 hours to decide before an abortion is performed
- Ensure public funds are applied only to abortion cases involving life endangerment, rape or incest
Kansas police will have access to women’s medical records
Associated Press: http://6lawrence.com/news/health/kansas-board-to-review-abortion-rules-then-court/
Guttmacher Institute: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/kansas.html
KCUR 89.3 FM: http://bit.ly/kueFfT
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