By Claire, Communications Intern
Last week Kansas narrowly avoided becoming the first state in the US to not have a single legal abortion provider. Federal Judge Carlos Murguia has issued an injunction that will allow, temporarily, for all three clinics to remain open until a later court decision can be made.
The Aid for Women clinic and The Center for Women’s Health clinic would have been shut down on Friday and the one Planned Parenthood clinic was barely granted a license to continue operating after initially being refused.
New regulations for abortion clinics started July 1st. These new regulations include types of required drugs and equipment, acceptable room temperature, the size of janitorial closets and procedure rooms, number of bathrooms and other requirements that pro-choice supporters claim are a ruse to effectively ban abortion in the state of Kansas.
The clinics were given two weeks to comply with the new regulations.
All three abortion clinics are already in complicance with current health regulations and supporters claim these new laws will not protect the health of patients and are just anti-choice propaganda. Aid for Women was denied a license because it would require extensive renovations to conform to the room size standards imposed. Both independent clinics are in complicance with office-based surgery rules which did not require specific room size but adequately addressed patient’s needs and safety. Planned Parenthood operates as an Ambulatory Surgical Center. Such centers already have more regulations and rules than other clinics and doctor’s offices that also perform surgeries. The Center for Women’s Health canceled its inspection after Drs. Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser filed a lawsuit against the state. These doctors worked at both Planned Parenthood and The Center for Women’s Health.
These regulations in Kansas are just another example of the war on women’s reproductive freedom. Targeting the regulation of abortion providers in an effort to make access to abortion nearly impossible is not a new tactic. Likewise, adding restrictions and regulations in the name of women’s health is not a new tactic either. These regulations only apply to abortion providers. If there was a real concern for patientss safety due to room sizes, why are all other office-based surgery providers not being re-regulated? The answer is as simple and it is obvious. These regulations are not about protecting patients. It is about ideology and using controversial topics to push political agendas.
Likewise with the injunctions in South Dakota and Indiana, we can only hope that the justice system of this country can see that access to abortion services is very necessary for women’s health, safety and well-being. But at the same time, what Kansas is doing is something that other states may copy. These injunctions are buying time for clinics, until the courts can make a final decision. We need to make sure the government understands that women, themselves, want and need safe, accessible abortion services with no government intrusion.