TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas avoided becoming the first state without an abortion provider by granting Planned Parenthood a license yesterday to continue performing abortions under new regulations being challenged in federal court.
The new rules from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment tell abortion providers what drugs and equipment they must have on hand, how big some of their rooms must be, and the temperatures allowed in procedure and recovery rooms. The department is imposing them under a new licensing law that takes effect today, along with the rules.
Peter Brownlie, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, confirmed it had received a license.
The clinic and the state’s two other providers have filed separate lawsuits about the new rules.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment would only say that one of the state’s three abortion providers would receive a license by today, but it would not name the provider. Had none of the clinics received a license, Kansas would have become the only state in the country without an abortion provider.
The state’s two other clinics have not been inspected for licensing under the new law.
Supporters say the new Kansas regulations would protect patients from substandard care. But critics say they’re burdensome by design and aimed at shutting down abortion services. Abortion-rights supporters are suspicious of the licensing process because Governor Sam Brownback is an antiabortion Republican and abortion opponents pushed the law through the GOP-controlled Legislature.
Providers have sued partly because they didn’t see the current version of the regulations until June, less than two weeks before they were supposed to comply with them.