Kansas Laws Needed to Focus on New Abortion Practitioners

Opinion   |   Kathy Ostrowski   |   Dec 21, 2010   |   2:24PM   |   Topeka, KS

With news that two state-licensed physicians, Mila Means and Gregory Linhardt, are training to open an abortion venture in Wichita, it is worth noting that Kansas still has no law to inspect and license abortion clinics.

Any Kansas clinic that is essentially the office of a state-licensed physician is under the authority of the state Board of Healing Arts, and, since 2006, required to adhere to minimum safety and sanitation standards.

Abortion businesses, however, are notorious for cutting safety corners and using untrained, low-wage staff (see last week’s Florida example).  In part, this is because aborted women are resistant to protesting shoddy treatment and unhygienic facilities for fear of exposing their abortion.

This is why the fight to regulate abortion clinics has been so important and why Kansans for Life — after years of having Sebelius prevent clinic regulation –quietly participated with a subcommittee of the Board, to design rules to at least help protect women.

In December 2005, these “office-based-surgery rules” began to apply to  Kansas’ surgical abortion clinics (numbering 7 in  2005, now 2) but do not cover the Comprehensive Health/Planned Parenthood business in Overland Park, which is licensed by statute under the state health department.

These rules represent a minor victory because they essentially require BOTH a physician AND a licensed health professional during every surgical procedure, so that one practitioner can solely monitor the woman under anesthesia.

    * “Each office-based surgery and special procedure shall be within the scope of practice of the physician.” (For a long time, one Kansas abortionist was an elderly lung specialist!)

    * “At least one person shall have training in advanced resuscitative techniques and shall be in the patient’s immediate presence at all times until the patient is discharged from anesthesia care.”  (At least one Kansas teen had died by aspirating on her own vomit as the abortionist ignored her and continued with the abortion!)

However, these agency rules are not state statutes, and assurance that they are being followed depends on the willingness of the agency to be diligent in the face of political pressure, and our state Board has been outrageously political.

Additionally, the rules do not authorize spot inspections, nor can they close a deficient facility. (More on the insufficiency of these rules will be developed in a following post.)

In 2003, the Kansas legislature passed a clinic inspection, licensure & regulation bill, based on testimony about over 50 cases of Kansas-licensed abortionists’ malpractice, including 3 patient deaths.  Gov. Sebelius’ vetoed the bill as ‘unneeded’ and pressured Democrat House reps to withdraw their support for override.

In 2004, the state Healing Arts Board was headed by ‘abortion-clinic-protector’ Executive Director, Larry Buening, and similarly-minded lead staffers.  They ignored the request of a Kansas City DA to investigate a filthy, roach & rodent-infested clinic.

So-called pro-choice advocates  did NOT join in a call to insure dangerous profiteers would not continue in business, despite  photographic evidence and police officers’ personal testimony about the clinic’s open drug syringes, bloody floors and high-school dropout staff.

The House re-passed the vetoed 2003 bill, but the pro-abortion Kansas Senate president, after conferring with Buening, stopped the bill from reaching Sebelius’ desk.

In 2005, in the wake of a Buening-assisted coverup of a new clinic death (Christin Gilbert), and even more legislative testimony of abortion hospitalizations, the House & Senate re-passed the same clinic inspection, licensure & regulation bill.   Gov. Sebelius again vetoed it.

In 2006, Sebelius’ electoral re-election machinations strangled passage of the same bill. After that, the public furor focused on the late-term abortion corruption of the administration, Attorney General and Healing Arts Board.

Meanwhile, Kansans for Life had exposed Buening’s role in protecting dangerous abortionists from discovery & discipline by the actual members of the Board.  When the Board discovered what had been done under their nose, they instigated a subcommittee to draw up rules that would toughen Kansas Medical Society recommendations.

The subcommittee’s rules resulted in the first-ever inspection of every abortion clinic that was a doctor office (as reported to the Board in June 2005 and 2006 license renewals), and directly led to the shuttering of one abortion business in Wichita.

LifeNews.com Note: Kathy Ostrowski is the legislative director for Kansans for Life, a statewide pro-life group that has helped lead the fight against late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller. Tiller will be on trial this week for 19 counts of allegedly violating the state’s late-term abortion laws.