Fate of Kansas Clinics Still Unclear


Despite the efforts of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to shut down all abortion providers in the state, a judge blocked the new, highly restrictive regulations for abortion clinics from going into effect on Friday. The temporary injunction has allowed all three of the state’s abortion clinics to remain open for now, at least while they await another day in court.

“I don’t know if this is a short-lived victory or a long-lived one,” Jeff Pederson, the manager at Kansas City’s Aid for Women, told Mother Jones. He was not sure when the clinic’s lawyers would be back in court to seek a complete suspension of the new rules.

The health department, however, indicated that it still intends to move forward with its new licensing plan for abortion clinics. The regulations that were supposed to go into effect on July 1 were only temporary, to be in place for 120 days. The department had issued them as a short-term response to the measure that Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed into law in May. The department is supposed to have a permanent licensing plan in place by October, which is expected to include similar regulations. Via the Topeka Capitol-Journal:

Robert Moser, secretary of health and environment and a Brownback appointee, said his department respected the ruling and would “follow the law.”

But Moser added: “Judge Murguia’s ruling is narrowly tailored and does not prevent KDHE from moving forward to establish permanent licensing regulations.”

The department said in a press release on Thursday that it will hold a public hearing on the permanent rules on September 7 in Topeka.

The clinics may have won the first round, this latest battle in the never-ending abortion wars is far from over.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.