After losing the first round of battles over harsh new regulations governing abortion clinics, Kansas officials announced they are easing those new regulations. But the move may not be enough to prevent another legal challenge.
The new permanent rules are set to take effect November 14th. Among the changes, the revised regulations no longer specify required procedure and patient room sizes and give clinics wider latitude to adjust a room’s temperature. The changes also shorten the list of required medications and equipment doctors need to have on hand and no longer require clinics to have a large janitorial room per each procedure room. These requirements had been blocked by a federal judge and are widely seen as an attempt to regulate out of existence abortion clinics.
These new regulations address most of the concerns of the federal judge who originally blocked their implementation, but many problem areas remain. The revised rules still require abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic and require patient medical records to be available at the clinic for state health department inspectors to review.
In July, U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia blocked earlier regulations from taking effect after abortion providers said the rules would have forced the closure of two abortion clinics and would have required others to make extensive building renovations in order to comply. Murguia has now told attorneys to submit briefs by Oct. 28 analyzing the similarities or differences between the permanent regulations just announced and the temporary ones already blocked.
Photo from infowidget via flickr.