Kansas Eases Regulations on New Abortion Clinics, But Legal Dispute Continues
Officials in Kansas are easing controversial new regulations that govern abortion clinics, but the move may not be adequate to pacify abortion providers who have already convinced a federal judge to block the earlier versions of the regulation.
An advance copy of the new permanent regulations that will take effect on November 14 was obtained by some members of the press. A comparison with the temporary version of the regulations shows that Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials have taken off some of the provisions which have been under heavy criticism during a public comment period, as well as in a federal lawsuit.
The revised rules no longer specify the required procedure and patient room sizes. It also allows wider latitude to clinics to adjust the temperature of the room. They also reduced the list of required equipment and medications that the doctors need to have on hand. It also no longer requires clinics to have a big janitorial room for each procedure room.
However, the key elements of the original provisions remain. This includes requiring abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital if it is within 30 miles of an abortion clinic. It also requires patient medical records to be available at the abortion clinic in case state health department officials wanted to review them.
Miranda Steele, the spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in an email said that while the temporary rules were reasonable and based on industry standards, the public comment period has served its purpose.
“KDHE took into account the suggestions and input received during the public comment period and made some changes to the regulations, but maintaining the same intent — to ensure the safety of patients,” said Steele said in her email.