What Happens on Friday

Starting Friday, it’s possible that women in Kansas with unwanted pregnancies will have to drive several hours over state lines to obtain an abortion – saddled with piles of tedious regulations and unrealistic deadlines, clinics may be forced to close.:

Kansas has only three abortion clinics, all in the Kansas City area. One, in Wyandotte County, has already been told it would not be licensed. The local president of Planned Parenthood said Tuesday that his Overland Park clinic still hadn’t been approved for a license.

But the stakes were raised Tuesday when a father-daughter physician team from a third clinic went to federal court to stop Kansas from imposing the new rules.

The lawsuit, brought by Herbert Hodes and his daughter Traci Nauser, alleges there was an organized and deliberate effort by Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration “to close abortion clinics by any means necessary.”

“At every step …, KDHE implemented the licensing provisions of the act in ways that made it impossible for existing medical practices to obtain a license by the effective date,” the lawsuit contends.

Mother Jones gives a more detailed run-down of the regulations here. Emphases mine.:

The new requirements require facilities to add extra bathrooms, drastically expand waiting and recovery areas, and even add larger janitor’s closets, as one clinic employee told me—changes that clinics will have a heck of a time pulling off by the deadline. Under the new rule, clinics must also aquire state certification to admit patients, a process that takes 90 to 120 days, the staffer explained. Which makes it impossible for clinics to comply. And clinics that don’t comply with the rules will face fines or possible closure.

Despite the fact that these standards are nigh-impossible to satisfy, Mary Kay Culp (director of Kansans for Life) insists that the new regulations are designed to help rather than hinder.:

[Culp] said the law was needed to ensure the safety of women. She said the law was never intended to shut down abortion clinics and pointed out that a similar law is in place in South Carolina.

“Without any oversight, women really are in danger,” Culp said Tuesday.

Of course – I’m sure all the poor women in rural Kansas who can’t afford the trek to Missouri will graciously thank people like you for keeping them ‘out of danger’. Also, I didn’t realize that making sure the maintenance crew had extra shelf-space for their Windex had anything to do with women’s safety. Interesting how the right-wing spend so much time pooh-poohing ‘big government’ and pesky regulations; but they’re apparently perfectly comfy using the same tactics to browbeat everyone else into submission.

Upon hearing about something like this, the instinctual reaction of a normal person is, “What can I do to fight this?” ..but I don’t know. I’m not sure.

Obviously, it’s important for women to be aware of comparatively safe, affordable alternatives to clinical abortions; but for women who can’t go the herbal route, transportation & cost of procedure are still a pressing concern. The National Network of Abortion Access Fund provides some financial assistance, but I don’t think it addresses the problem of travel costs. There are sites like couchsurfing which are useful for people who need a place to stay overnight and can’t afford motels; but as far as the travel problem, what’s really essential is either better public transportation or some private, informal alternative to public transportation that’s both cheaper and more convenient.


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