Kansas loses one of its three abortion clinics due to new regulations
The Aid for Women abortion clinic in Kansas City, one of the three abortion clinics left in Kansas, has lost its license to operate in the state. All three clinics had to meet new regulations that were part of a bill aimed at shutting down abortion clinics, and so far Aid for Women did not.
The new law signed by the governor set standards for all clinics that includes “having an emergency door that can accommodate a gurney … maintaining proper emergency equipment, drugs and protocols, having proper lighting and ventilation, lavatory areas, and spaces for the sterilization of surgical equipment. Clinics must also have a licensed nurse in the clinic when abortions are done.”
Mother Jones explains that these laws are “TRAP” laws, or “targeted regulation of abortion providers”:
That is, regulations that only apply to abortion clinics, setting compulsory standards that are often difficult to meet, like mandated sizes for waiting and recovery rooms, reconfiguring of exits and entrances to facilities, and additional bathrooms.
In Kansas, the state legislature passed its TRAP law in April, which created a new licensing category for abortion providers. But the state didn’t issue the final regulations until June 17, and then gave the clinics just two weeks to comply with the new rules or potentially be denied a license to operate. A staffer at one of the three remaining abortion clinics in the state told Mother Jones that the new rules would require it to dramatically expand the size of its waiting and recovery rooms, as well as the janitor’s closet, and would be impossible for the clinic to comply in its current office. (As we’ve reported before, it can be very difficult for abortion providers to find new offices—especially in Kansas.)
ThinkProgress reports that another clinic is scheduled for inspection on Wednesday. A spokesperson for the clinic has already said that the clinic is “doomed.”
This leaves only the Planned Parenthood clinic, which has expressed that it will be able to meet the stringent requirements. However, The New York Times reports that the president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri believes the clinic will be “denied a liscense anyway.”
“We believe without question that the intent is to shut down abortion clinics in Kansas, so we are preparing to be in court,” he told the Times.
Troy Newman, the president of the Kansas-based anti-abortion rights group Operation Rescue, said in a statement that he thinks Planned Parenthood should not have a liscense even if they do meet the new requirements:
“In light of Planned Parenthood’s history of flouting the law, we have no reason to believe they will adhere to the new clinic safety standards,” said Newman. “While they may receive initial licensing, these people have the attitude that they are above the law. It’s only a matter of time before they disregard the clinic safety rules, too.”
Newman also said that “squalid conditions and horrific abuses have been documented at abortion mills in this state, fully justifying the new standards,” and that for decades Kansas “has been like the lawless Wild West for abortionists.”
Kansas officials will be inspecting the remaining clinics, which includes Planned Parenthood, this week and next. It will be determined after the inspections which ones receive licenses.