As we reported yesterday, a new set of unnecessarily stringent regulations have threatened the three remaining abortion clinics in Kansas. But this afternoon, a judge issued a temporary restraining order that keeps the regulations from going into effect, thus allowing two clinics to stay open that were expected to close today. The third clinic, Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, had already passed inspection for being in compliance with the new rules.
As Brad Cooper explained in The Kansas City Star:
Aid for Women in Kansas City, Kan. and Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park claim that the state demanded overnight compliance with rules that were costly and medically unnecessary. They contend that the licensing process was an organized and deliberate attempt by Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration to shut down abortion clinics in Kansas.
Judge Carlos Murguia issued the ruling after just an hour’s deliberation. It will be in effect until a court rules on the legal complaint [pdf] lodged by a father-daughter team of ob-gyns, Drs. Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, that challenges the constitutionality of the Kansas regulations. Hodes has been performing abortions for 34 years as part of his private practice, Nauser for 13 years. They own and operate the Center for Women’s Health, where they provide a full range of gynecological services, including delivering babies.
Among other points the physicians made in their complaint, they point out that it would be “extremely costly, if not impossible” to bring their facility into compliance with the regulations “and thus to continue providing abortions to their patients.” And yet, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment asserted in an economic impact statement that the regulations “should not impose any unusual cost on regulated providers or consumers of provider services.”
Yesterday on The Rachel Maddow Show, Dr. Nauser pointed out how ridiculous the regulations are from a health standpoint, pointing out that, under them, she could legally perform a D&C on a woman having a miscarriage but not on a woman who wants an elective abortion. She became tearful describing how she has proudly followed in her father’s footsteps in providing legal abortions, and how her family has faced protests and picketers for decades. As a parting statement, Dr. Nauser said to Maddow:
We’re trying to keep the Kansas legislature and Brownback out of women’s uteruses and women’s lives.