Kansas abortion providers have been battling anti-choice legislators for months over new restrictions that at one point threatened to close ever abortion clinic in the state. Now lawmakers have come back with less onerous regulations, but yesterday three doctors announced they're going to sue again because the requirements are still unreasonable and "irrational."
Dr. Herbert Hodes, his daughter, Dr. Traci Nauser, and Dr. Ronald Yeomans, already managed to get a judge to block the original version of the regulations. They included absurd specifications about the size of janitor's closets, the layout of staff dressing rooms, and the precise temperature of procedure rooms, along with more reasonable requirements to have certain drugs and equiptment on hand. The Associated Press reports that this week that state published a revised set of rules. Incredibly, legislators have given up on the size and temperature requirements for procedure rooms, meaning some poor soul may wind up seeing a doctor in a 67 degree room. The state also reduced the list of required drugs and equiptment, but pro-choice groups still aren't happy.
Bonnie Scott Jones of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the doctors, explained:
"They made some important changes, which is good, but unfortunately, they have left a lot in that is unacceptable. They're still extremely burdensome in multiple ways, so they still do need to be challenged."
For instance, the regulations still stipulate that only physicians can dispense drugs, so a physician's assisant wouldn't even be able to hand out Tylenol. Patients must remain in recovery rooms for up to an hour depending on how far along they were, even though there's no medical basis for the timeframes laid out by the state. Legislators also kept a concerning section of the originial regulations that requires doctors to make records on abortion available for review by the health department. That doesn't sound all that outrageous, but as you'll recall, this is the state where former Attorney General Phill Kline went on a ""fishing expedition" through patient's medical records as part of his continued harassment of Dr. George Tiller. Kline, who recently had his law license suspended over the incident, allegedly made illegal copies of the records and discussed their contents on The O'Reilly Factor.
The new requirements are scheduled to go into effect on November 14, but abortion providers are hoping to block them once again. Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life, says the doctors shouldn't be complaining since the concessions were made, adding that the original regulations were "reasonable and state of the art." She's partially right. Lots of states are trying to make gettng an abortion more difficult, but Kansas is always at the cutting edge of denying women their reproductive rights.
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