Two Kansas doctors who perform abortions have asked the courts to block a set of new licensing restrictions that go into effect Friday, because they argue the regulations are a "sham" and have "made it impossible for existing medical practices to obtain a license by the effective date."
Herbert Hodes and Traci Lynn Hauser, the father-daughter owners of the Overland Park medical clinic, filed suit in U.S. District Court Tuesday, asking for a temporary injunction against the law.
The law requires abortion providers to get inspected and licensed under strict new regulations by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and after it goes into effect Friday, no doctor can perform an abortion without the license. But Hodes and Hauser say they got the new regulations just 10 days before the law was scheduled to go into effect, and just one week before an inspection appointment scheduled by the state.
David Twiddy of the Kansas City Business Journal describes some of the new regulations:
Among the provisions are requirements that each procedure room include at least 150 square feet of space, that the office have 50 square feet of janitorial space for each procedure room, that physicians and staff use pre-procedure handwashing stations outside instead of inside the procedure rooms and that patients are provided with separate dressing rooms instead of changing in the procedure rooms. It also requires the office to have pediatric medical equipment available, even though Hodes and Hauser said they don't deliver babies in their office, don't have child-age patients and don't perform abortions in which the fetus is viable.
"At every step of the challenged process, KDHE implemented the licensing provisions of the act in ways that made it impossible for existing medical practices to obtain a license by the effective date," the lawsuit says. It adds that the new regulations "impose burdensome and costly requirements that are not medically necessary or appropriate and that are not imposed on Kansas medical providers performing other comparable procedures."
"If you look at the process, it's hard to come to any conclusion other than it's stacked against the providers," Bonnie Scott Jones, who is representing the doctors with the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the AP. "The process here is so extreme it's absurd."
One abortion provider in Kansas has already lost its license -- leaving just two abortion clinics left in the whole state for now.