Kansas State House Committee Approves Abortion Facility Regulations
by Steven Ertelt
February 23, 2004
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — A state House committee passed a pro-life bill setting health and safety standards for abortion facilities on to the full House Monday. This is the same bill that was vetoed last session by pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
The Federal and State Affairs committee voted 11-7 on HB 2751, and was very concerned over whistleblower testimony from a former employee at a Kansas City abortion facility.
"Ruby," as the employee is called in the report, witnessed first-hand the lack of safe medical procedures at the abortion facility where she worked, including the use of dishwashers as sterilizers, lack of background checks and medical training for medical assistants, lack of such simple procedures as cleaning the table between abortions or monitoring vital signs of patients during or after the abortions, and the storage of aborted children placed in the same refrigerator as food.
"Ruby" also said that all medical waste, including bio-hazardous and contaminated waste, was taken home by the abortion practitioner and placed on the curb at his home for residential pickup.
Pro-life groups support the bill to protect women and because similar legislation in other states has been responsible for shutting down at least one abortion business. But Sebelius opposes the bill.
"The health care facilities addressed in this bill are already subject to those high standards,” the Democratic governor wrote in her April veto message to legislators, referring to the changes the bill would have made.
However, state law has abortion businesses overseen by the Board of Healing Arts, and inspections of the facilities are not required.
Opponents of the bill said that the standards set by the bill, such as minimum standards for an abortion facility’s supplies, equipment, sizes of rooms, ordering that a licensed physician serve as medical director, and requiring ultrasound equipment to be on hand if the facility performs abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy, are too much.
"This bill essentially micromanages the practice of medicine, but only when it comes to abortion," said Rep. Rick Rehorn (D-Kansas City).
However, Kansas already regulates even the reading material in veterinary clinics, Kathleen Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life told LifeNews.com.
"KFL has heard of several young, impoverished, single moms desperate for work, without even a GED, without medical training, and without the desire to be endangering other lives, who have complained they are performing medical tasks in assembly-line abortions," said Ostrowski. "That is the condition outlawed to Kansas pets, but permitted to Kansas women."
Last session, the legislature fell just short of the two-thirds vote necessary to override the governor’s veto.
"We gathered much evidence as to why the bill was necessary. She ignored it," said Mary Kay Culp, director of Kansas for Life after the governor vetoed the legislation in April. "She said health care in Kansas is great. We say, prove it."
Culp said Sebelius has been the recipient of political donations from infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller and other state abortion practitioners, many of whom have claimed the bill is an attempt to close abortion facilities by setting standards too high, or making abortions too expensive.
Meanwhile, the University of St. Mary, a Catholic university in the state, came under fire last week for inviting Sebelius to be the keynote speaker at an event honoring Abraham Lincoln.
Following the event, Archbishop James Keleher of the Diocese of Kansas City has ordered that "none of our Catholic institutions invite any person" who supports abortion or has a pro-abortion voting record "to address, give workshops, or otherwise make any presentations at these institutions."
Sebelius, a Catholic, said she sees no conflict between her religious views and pro-abortion actions.