Judge Blocks Abortion Regulations, Keeping Abortion Facilities Open in Kansas

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(PRESS RELEASE) Late today, a federal district judge in Kansas blocked enforcement of the new licensing regulations for abortion providers until the case is resolved. The ruling means that none of the three abortion providers in the state will shut down.

"This is a tremendous victory for women in Kansas and against the underhanded efforts of anti-choice politicians to shut down abortion providers in the state," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "The facts were clear — this licensing process had absolutely nothing to do with patient health or safety and everything to do with political shenanigans."

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a legal challenge against the law on Tuesday, June 28, and had asked Judge Carlos Murguia to grant a preliminary injunction.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is representing one of the three abortion providers in Kansas, a private OBGYN practice in Overland Park operated by father-daughter team Dr. Herbert Hodes and Dr. Traci Nauser in court.

The new regulations were scheduled to go into effect today, but were only issued to abortion providers two weeks earlier on June 17. Under the new rules, abortion providers must meet a number of extensive physical plant requirements including procedure rooms that are at least 150 square feet, 50 square feet of storage space for janitor’s supplies per procedure room, and designated dressing rooms for staff.

The Center argues that the regulations and licensing process violate the due process rights of plaintiffs, and place an undue burden on their patients by effectively banning the performance ofabortions at most of the facilities that currently provide those services. In addition, the lawsuit argues that the new rules and licensing process are irrational, medically unnecessary, and impose more stringent requirements than those imposed on other providers of office-based surgeries, and in some cases, more stringent than those imposed on hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.

Aid for Women in Kansas City, Kansas, joined the Center's case yesterday and is represented by Cheryl Pilate of Morgan Pilate LLC.