The three remaining abortion clinics in Kansas — which is to say, the ones not already closed by the murder of an abortion provider in that state — are under threat of closing thanks to new, intentionally-unachievable regulations, Mother Jones reports. It's not just Kansas.
The final version of the Kansas regulations, signed into law by anti-abortion Governor Sam Brownback, were issued on June 17, and clinics have until July 1 to comply. Per MJ,
The new requirements require facilities to add extra bathrooms, drastically expand waiting and recovery areas, and even add larger janitor's closets, as one clinic employee told me—changes that clinics will have a heck of a time pulling off by the deadline. Under the new rule, clinics must also aquire state certification to admit patients, a process that takes 90 to 120 days, the staffer explained. Which makes it impossible for clinics to comply. And clinics that don't comply with the rules will face fines or possible closure.
We are curious to know what effect janitors' closets have on the safety of women seeking care there. Such tactics are so widespread among anti-choice legislators, they have their own catchy nickname, TRAP, or "targeted regulation of abortion providers."
Earlier this year, Virginia found a novel way into this game by classifying all abortion clinics as hospitals, as opposed to being comparable to doctors' offices.
Abortion providers got a slight reprieve last week in Pennsylvania, where stringent regulations were passed in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell news. The Senate agreed to a study that would measure additional costs the laws would have to the clinics. According to the Inquirer, "The amendment would not delay implementing the law, but it would address concerns that abortion providers have voiced that the law would impose such costly physical and staffing requirements that some clinics would be forced to close." Well, at least they'll know — just FYI.
In September, Louisiana closed an abortion clinic that had itself sued the state 20 times over what it said were frivolous regulatory actions. But that was reversed by a judge who said the clinic's right to due process had been violated, and said the Department of Health and Human Services had arbitrarily and capriciously suspended the license. (The government actually notified the media before it notified by the clinic — by fax, after business hours.) The clinic eventually reopened.
These political and legal skirmishes end up costing both the state and the clinics, and hurts the latter's ability to actually provide care. According to a study in the American Journal Of Public Health seeking to measure the costs of such laws even without litigation,
In Texas, they found, the number of clinics offering abortions after 16 weeks of pregnancy dropped from 20 providers to none in 2004, when the law was imposed. By 2005, two clinics managed to come into compliance, with renovation costs estimated by one administrator at $750,000. By 2007, four clinics qualified as outpatient surgery centers; those clinics' fees increased $200 to $1,000 per procedure.
In other words, women, and the people who serve them, are the ones who really pay.
Kansas: The First Abortion-Free State?
Related: Targeted Regulation Of Abortion Providers [CRR]
Advocates Claim Politics Behind Closing Of Louisiana Abortion Clinic [RH Reality Check]
Pennsylvania Senators Vote To Study Cost Of Proposed Abortion Clinic Rules [Inquirer]