Kansas officials are planning to move forward with another set of rules aimed at abortion clinics in the state. Recently, a court blocked the state’s efforts to shut down two of the last three remaining clinics. However, officials say that the court’s ruling gives them latitude to move forward with other rules.
Abortion rights advocates and the operators of the clinics that were shut down say the law was meant to shut down abortion clinics. It specifically stipulated new requirements that included “having 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.” The clinics were also given a short amount time to comply with the new strict requirements.
Even though an injunction against the strict law was granted, the state agency in charge of regulating the clinics says it can still impose new rules.
Robert Moser, secretary of health and environment for the state, said the department will follow the law, but “Judge Murguia’s ruling is narrowly tailored and does not prevent KDHE from moving forward to establish permanent licensing regulations.”
State officials said they will respect the judge’s ruling, but they will not wait to continue regulating the clinics. The first set of rules the agency says they will impose will be “temporary.” According to the Associated Press, this allows them to “avoid taking public comments and get the rules in place within weeks, though they could remain in effect afterward for only four months.” The next set of rules, however, “would be considered permanent and require public comment.”
One of the clinic operators who filed the injunction against Kansas’ law said the clinic will “challenge the permanent rules if [the new rules] are similarly strict.”
Planned Parenthood was the only clinic that was granted a license in the state of Kansas under the law that was recently blocked.