Planned Parenthood Receives Kansas Abortion License, Won’t Sue

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 30, 2011   |   4:03PM   |   Overland Park, KS

UPDATE: Planned Parenthood will receive a license after all and will withdraw its lawsuit, slated for a hearing on Friday. However, two other abortion centers did not get licenses and are moving forward with their lawsuit. President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Brownlie said Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri told AP late Thursday that the state health department granted it a license — reversing earlier reports that it would not receive one… The other two abortion centers have not yet been inspected but do not believe they will receive licenses.

Brownlie indicates Planned Parenthood has received a one-year license to do abortions in Kansas under the new law. Acceptance of the license came after state health officials visited the abortion business a second time late Thursday.

“Notwithstanding that the regulations are burdensome and unnecessary, the findings of the inspection indicate what we have known and said throughout this process,” Brownlie said in the statement. “Planned Parenthood operates with the highest standards of patient care and has rigorous safety procedures in place.”

The statement also had the abortion business director attacking pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback.

“This is radical, extreme government intrusion into private health care,” Brownlie said. “It seems Brownback is against more government regulations unless the regulations suit his agenda.”

Kansans for Life responded to LifeNews, saying, “This afternoon Kansas granted Planned Parenthood a facility license under the new law which begins tomorrow. Frankly, securing a license was never seriously in doubt and they knew it but used it for political purposes to re-position themselves as the victims of political persecution prior to their having to return to criminal court in Johnson County on July 15th after a two year interruption caused by former Attorney General Steve Six.”

“The claims that we just passed this law to shut down all our abortion providers is bogus. We always thought Planned Parenthood here would get a license because their clinic here is already licensed as an ambulatory surgical center, plus we know that the three abortion clinics in South Carolina have lived under a very similar law for over a decade,” KFL director Mary Kay Culp added.

“Thus, the lawsuit they filed earlier today was nothing more than theatrics so Planned Parenthood could have their sympathy cake, as they head to criminal court here July 15th, and eat it too,– meaning they garner worldwide headlines for that sympathy by touting the regulations as politically based, too hurried and onerous and perhaps leaving Kansas without abortions, yet knowing full well they could and would get their license with fairly simple compliance, and not miss one day of abortion business to boot,” Culp said.

The Planned Parenthood abortion business has been denied a license to do abortions in the state of Kansas under a new law that requires abortion centers to meet the same health and safety standards as legitimate outpatient centers.

The new law pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback signed requires abortion centers to meet the same basic health and safety standards as legitimate outpatient surgical centers such as, according to the bill, “having an emergency door that can accommodate a gurney … maintaining proper emergency equipment, drugs and protocols, having proper lighting and ventilation, lavatory areas, and spaces for the sterilization of surgical equipment. Clinics must also have a licensed nurse in the clinic when abortions are done.”

The law faces two lawsuits from two of the three abortion businesses it affects and planned Parenthood will join them now that it has heard it will not be granted a license following two days of inspections from state health officials.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s rules, which take effect on Friday, will become the subject of a September 7 hearing as they can only remain in effect for four months without public input. Today, the five-member State Rules and Regulations Board approved the rules so the health department can begin enforcing them tomorrow. But the abortion businesses hope a court will issue an injunction preventing the rules from being enforced with the lawsuit against them continues.

Hours after the board approved the new rules, Planned Parenthood filed suit, according to an AP report. The lawsuit says Planned Parenthood complied with most, but not all, of the key health and safety standards and Robert Moser, secretary of health and environment, would not waive the others and put the lives of women at risk.

AP indicates a hearing will take place on Friday concerning the lawsuits.

Meanwhile, the state health department is not releasing information pertaining to the inspections and it rejected an Associated Press open records request for the information. The health department cited a section of the Kansas Open Records Act allowing state officials to decline to release the records in cases where doing so would put official business at risk.

Cheryl Pilate, an attorney for the Aid for Women  abortion business in Kansas City that already lost its license, complained that the rules should not go into effect without first getting public input.

“It’s really ironic that the regulations have not even been given the final stamp of approval,” she told AP. “There really is no other word for it than, `absurd.’”

Center for Women’s Health in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park and a Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri late-term abortion business, also in Overland Park, are the other two centers affected. Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, his daughter, who do abortions are Center for Women’s health, filed the first lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City and, on Wednesday, Pilate filed a request to intervene on behalf of Aid for Women and its abortion practitioner Ronald Yeomans.

Planned Parenthood may also sue as well if it does not receive a new license from the state under the new health laws.

Mary Spaulding Balch of the National Right to Life Committee told AP she thinks the laws will be upheld as they have in other states.

“I don’t think you have to prove that some of these facilities are substandard or not,” she said. “I think you just have to show the state has in an interest in making sure they are not.”

The Aid for Women abortion facility lost the license and an attorney for the abortion center received a notice that its application for a license had been denied by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Cheryl Pilate indicated Aid for Women would have to close at least temporarily while it pursues its legal options.

The Planned Parenthood in Overland Park faced two days of inspections by state health officials who found it to be in compliance with the new state regulations. But the Women’s Health Center appears as if it will close down because it can’t ensure it will adequately protect women’s health.

“We’re doomed,” said its abortion practitioner Herbert Hodes, according to a Fox News report.

Mary Kay Culp with Kansans for Life told Fox that the new law is appropriate, especially if abortion businesses want to meet their claim that they actually care about the health of women.

“They’re known more as an abortion mill, in the front door, out the back door as quick as they can get them out,” she said of Aid for Women. They don’t have the room to keep anybody the proper amount of time to do good monitoring.”

“It’s chosen by a vulnerable young woman inside a clinic in a crisis time in her life amongst people who are going to make money if she chooses it, and who are accountable to no one up to this point,” Culp said.

Troy Newman, the president of the Kansas-based pro-life group Operation Rescue applauded the moves to shut down abortion centers not in compliance.

“In light of Planned Parenthood’s history of flouting the law, we have no reason to believe they will adhere to the new clinic safety standards,” said Newman. “While they may receive initial licensing, these people have the attitude that they are above the law. It’s only a matter of time before they disregard the clinic safety rules, too.”

Newman said that “squalid conditions and horrific abuses have been documented at abortion mills in this state, fully justifying the new standards,” and that for decades Kansas “has been like the lawless Wild West for abortionists.”

Meanwhile, Kathy Ostrowski, of Kansans for Life, says Aid for Women has never had the best interests of women in mind.

“For many years, abortion businesses in Kansas have claimed to legislative committees that they do not need state oversight and that they already adhere to high industry standards,” she explained. “Ironically, most provisions in the new Kansas law were taken from the published standards of the National Abortion Federation. To that was added requirements that any abortion must be done by a Kansas-licensed physician with local hospital privileges, and that chemical abortion pills must not be provided via computer.”

She also maintains the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld these kinds of regulations, in the case Greenville Women’s Clinic v. Bryant, 222 F.3d 157 (4th Cir.2000).

“The U.S. Supreme Court did not take the Greenville lower court case for review, and let stand the ruling that South Carolina state standards for licensing abortion clinics ARE constitutional.  The court found the state’s regulations: did not impose an undue burden on the right to seek abortion; do serve a valid purpose in safeguarding the health of women; had a rational basis for regulating abortion clinics, while not regulating other healthcare facilities, [noting that] abortions are “inherently different from other medical procedures, because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.”

“The South Carolina standards –upheld as constitutional– are actually more stringent than the new Kansas law,” Ostrowski said. The South Carolina regulations are responsible for cutting abortions by one-half in the state.