State Judge Allows Legal Challenge to Kansas' Extreme Abortion Licensing Regulations to Move Forward
08.03.12 - (PRESS RELEASE) A legal challenge launched by the Center for Reproductive Rights against unreasonable and unnecessary licensing regulations aimed at shuttering Kansas abortion providers can continue, according an order issued today by a state district court judge.
The unconstitutional licensing scheme—which imposes unnecessary and unreasonable requirements that threaten, rather than protect women’s health—will remain blocked under the current temporary restraining order.
“These regulations have never been anything more than an underhanded attempt to make it impossible for Kansas women to exercise their constitutionally protected reproductive rights,” said Bonnie Scott Jones, special counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Politicians have absolutely no business inserting themselves between women and their reproductive health care providers. With today’s decision, the dedicated physicians challenging this law will have their day in court to stand up for their own rights and the rights of their patients.”
The Center filed the lawsuit in state court in November 2011 on behalf of Dr. Herb Hodes and Dr. Traci Nauser, a father and daughter team that provides a full range of ob-gyn services in Overland Park, Kan. A state district judge immediately blocked the law with a temporary restraining order.
The regulatory scheme singles out the few Kansas physicians who provide abortions in the state with requirements that do not apply to any other health care providers. For example, it requires only abortion providers to hire licensed nurses to perform many tasks that are within the training and common duties of medical assistants.
The rules also violate the privacy rights of patients under the Kansas state constitution by giving the state broad access to their private medical records, which contain highly personal information including past health conditions, psychological history, and sexual and reproductive health and histories.
In addition, the law would prevent doctors from providing emergency pregnancy termination services to protect a patient's health, including life- and health-saving treatments for women suffering from ectopic pregnancy (a condition that occurs when an embryo implants outside the uterus and is not viable, but if left untreated can lead to rupture and the risk of infection for the woman).
“For many women in Kansas, Dr. Hodes and Dr. Nauser are the only doctors who can provide the services they need,” Jones said. “These unreasonable and unnecessary regulations would no doubt delay or prevent these women—particularly those facing serious medical complications—from getting critical health care when they need it.”
The Center filed the suit, Hodes & Nauser, MDs, P.A. et al. v. Robert Moser, M.D. et al. , along with local counsel Teresa Woody, The Woody Law Firm PC and LJ Leatherman of Palmer, Leatherman, White & Dalton in Topeka, KS.