Kansas Sued Over Abortion Clinic Guidelines

Les Stone/Zuma

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Two weeks ago, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued a new set of stringent guidelines for abortion clinics. Under the new requirements, the three remaining clinics in the state would have to make enormous structural changes to their buildings and obtain new certifications in just two weeks or face possible closure. These types of laws are known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, and critics say they’re intended to make it almost impossible for clinics to operate.

But despite the new rules, abortion rights activists aren’t giving up: On Tuesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of one of the remaining Kansas clinics, the Center for Women’s Health, which is run by a father/daughter duo who practice in Overland Park.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Kansas City, physicians at the Center for Women’s Health claim they weren’t given the final instructions about the new regulations until June 17, and that they were ordered to adhere to the guidelines—which included things like number, type, and dimension of rooms—by July 1. They were then denied a temporary license based on an existing law that would allow them to request waivers. Dr. Hodes and Dr. Nauser, the team operating the clinic, “cannot meet these requirements without rebuilding their office from the ground up,” according to a press release.

The guidelines are so harsh that they sometimes verge on parody; one requires that abortion offices come equipped with pediatric-sized ventilation masks, cannulas, and other instruments even though the clinic’s doctors do “not have child-aged patients, do not deliver babies in their office, and only perform abortions there prior to fetal viability.” The CRR suit argues that many of the requirements are “ambiguous and unclear.” But even though the guidelines would force some clinics to rebuild, the Kansas Department of Health issued a statement claiming that the new guidelines “should not impose any unusual cost on regulated providers or consumers of provider services.”

In its suit, the Center for Reproductive Rights argues that the new rules come at the expense of due process, among other things. As for Kansans, if the health department gets its way, the cost to them may be living in a state that does not have a single clinic where abortions can be performed safely and legally.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate