Rights group sues to block Kansas abortion licensing laws

[JURIST] The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy website] on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit [press release] challenging licensing and regulation laws for doctors who provide abortions [JURIST news archive] in Kansas. The suit [case backgrounder], filed on behalf of two doctors, alleges that regulations issued by the Kansas Department of Health [official website] were intended to shut down the only abortion providers in the state. According to the plaintiffs, the department of health issued the new regulations without giving proper notice or opportunity to be heard, imposing review and compliance deadlines in mid-June for the regulation which is set to take effect on July 1. The regulations would also force the providers to rebuild their offices to comply with the new, stringent standards. Nancy Northup, president of the CRR, condemned the Kansas regulations:

Between the rigid and unnecessary building standards and the absurd deadlines, this licensing process is a complete sham. Our clients have a long record of providing safe and high-quality OB/GYN care, including abortion services, to women over the last thirty years. These regulations have nothing to do with safety standards, and everything to do with an aggressive anti-choice government trying to shut down abortion providers.
The plaintiffs are challenging the regulations on due process grounds and further assert that the laws create an undue burden on patients seeking abortions.

The CRR filed a challenge [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] earlier this month to the newly signed Texas law requiring a sonogram be done before a woman can have an abortion. The CRR filed the lawsuit on behalf of a class of physicians who perform abortions claiming that the act is unconstitutional because it "profoundly intrudes on the practice of medicine, forces physicians to deliver ideological speech to patients, and treats women as less than fully competent adults." Also this month, the Iowa House passed [JURIST report] what would be the most restrictive law yet, effectively banning abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. Multiple states have acted to ban abortions after 20 weeks, when some studies suggest a fetus can begin feeling pain, including Missouri, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas and Idaho [JURIST reports].

 

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