Women under assault yet again...
I seriously don’t know what is happening exactly in the United States of America. This country used to stand up for what is fair and just. Now, it seems as though we are sadly crumbling into a theocratic mess.
Two weeks ago, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued a new set of strict guidelines for abortion clinics. The only three remaining clinics in the state would basically have to make large structural changes to their buildings and undergo new certification in only two weeks or face closure. These laws are known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws and critics of the bill claim that these laws are hell bent on making it nearly impossible for abortion clinics to remain open.
The health care department regulations tell providers what drugs and equipment they must have available, how large the rooms in which abortions are performed must be (at least 150 square feet of space, excluding cabinets) and to remain between 68-73 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of the equipment that is required include pediatric-sized ventilation masks and cannulas even though the clinic’s doctors “do not have child-aged patients, do not deliver babies in their office, and only perform abortions there prior to fetal viability.”
Other requirements include adding extra bathrooms, expanding waiting and recovering areas and adding larger janitor’s closets.
It’s not as though getting an abortion in Kansas was easy before, either. Many doctors who perform abortions in Kansas face death threats and evictions. Earlier this year, the state approved a law that restricted private insurance coverage for abortions and another that banned abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
Many doctors are being denied temporary licenses based on existing laws that would allow them to request waivers. Dr. Hodes and Dr. Nauser, a father/daugther team who run the Center for Women’s Health state that they weren’t given instructions about the new regulations until June 17 and were expected to rebuild their clinics by July 1. They state that their operating team “cannot meet these requirements without rebuilding their office from the ground up.”
This law truly is an assault on women and a clear step forward in completely eliminating all women’s health clinics in the state of Kansas.
But, these doctors aren’t taking this lying down. They have sued Kansas City in federal court stating that the new rules come at the expense of due process, among other things. If the health department gets its way, the entire state of Kansas will not have a clinic where abortions can be performed safely and legally, potentially endangering the lives of countless women. These harsh measures create many obstacles for women looking to obtain an abortion and for doctors performing them, including financial, legal and psychological.
So far, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is the only clinic to obtain the license after initially being denied.
Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri had this to say:
“It confirms what we knew all along, that we provide high-quality health care. We are glad to be able to keep meeting the needs of our patients.”
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group in Kansas, has his own thoughts on why these regulations are helpful to women.
“If clinics cannot comply with these minimum safety standards, they are simply too dangerous to continue to operate. It is shocking that anyone would even question whether or not women deserve to be protected from shoddy and unsafe abortion practices. We certainly believe there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ abortion clinic. Abortionists have the attitude that they are above the law and will likely not kee it, therefore, the best way to protect women is to close the abortion clinics.”
This is clearly an abuse of our court system to try to shut down functioning women’s health care clinics in the name of “safety” which is merely a guise for religious fundamentalism run amok. We cannot allow the state of Kansas or any other state to feel as though they have the right to stand inside a doctor’s office and dictate as to what procedure they deem fit for a woman to have.
Note to Kansas: Get the state government out of the doctor’s office and especially out of my uterus.
Enough is enough!