US

Kansas narrowly avoids becoming only state without access to abortion

Kansas just skirted the distinction of becoming the first state without an abortion provider Thursday, giving an eleventh-hour license to one of the three clinics in the state before a new law regulating abortion clinics went into effect today.

The license was awarded to a Planned Parenthood branch, after the clinic threatened a lawsuit over the new requirements.

“We have been targeted in this bill and Kansas women are the ones who will suffer if their health care is taken away,” Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said in a statement. “This is radical, extreme government intrusion into private health care.”

The new law means that the other two clinics will be unable to perform abortions until they come in line with the stringent new regulations. Those that were unable to meet the new requirements will be in federal court today to seek an injunction on the law.

The new clinic regulations require abortion providers to undergo an intense inspection and licensing process through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to ensure they are in compliance with strict rules on the size of rooms, types of medical supplies, and equipment.

For example, staff are required to use hand washing equipment outside the room where the procedure is performed. Clinics must also provide patients with changing rooms outside the procedure room. (‘The most dangerous place for a Latino is in the womb’)

The regulations also require 50 square feet of janitorial space for each room. The procedure room itself must be at least 150 square feet.

According to Time magazine, 8,000 women get abortions in Kansas annually. Of those, Planned Parenthood did about 5,000, the other two providers performed 3,000.

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