The Kansas House Wednesday gave first-round approval for Abortion Clinic Licensure, H Sub SB 36. The final vote will take place Thursday morning and the bill will then head to the Senate for a vote “to concur”. UPDATE, Mar.31: Final vote passes the bill 97-26.
In 2003 and 2005, then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius chose to favor the abortion lobby, rather than women, by vetoing abortion clinic licensure bills nearly identical to H Sub SB 36.
This House vote shows legislators realize women need protection from abortion profiteers, because abortion clinics have shown, time and again, they won’t police themselves. Rep. Steve Huebert (R-Valley Center), who carried the bill, referenced the Philadelphia “House of Horrors” Gosnell clinic and the appalling Kansas City, Kansas, Rajanna clinic (now closed).
H Sub SB 36 requires a license to be secured by any hospital, ambulatory surgical center (ASC), or physician office that performs abortions EXCEPT those done to prevent the death of the mother.
If a state-licensed hospital or ASC treats life-threatening ectopic (tubal) pregnancy or performs the very rare abortions required to save the mother’s physical health, it does not need not get an abortion license.
As in the earlier bills Sebelius vetoed, H Sub SB 36 requires that KDHE and appropriate professional regulatory boards be notified of maternal abortion-related deaths (within one business day) and maternal abortion-related injuries (within 10 days).
H Sub SB 36 is essentially the legislation vetoed by Sebelius– which had been drafted using the published standards for clinics belonging to the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood. H Sub SB 36 adds a few additional protections:
- KDHE will conduct two annual facility inspections, one scheduled and one unannounced (veterinarians and restaurants overseen by KDHE only get unannounced inspections);
- abortion at any stage gestation must be performed by a state-licensed physician (a long-overdue provision that most Kansans assumed we had);
- each clinic must have at least one physician with admitting privileges at an accredited hospital located within 30 miles (this is law in Missouri and other states);
- abortions after 22 weeks cannot be performed in physician offices (of course, under the new Unborn Pain bill, this should rarely occur);
- no abortion by pill (RU-486 or other similar drug) can be obtained without a physician in the same room with the pregnant woman.
The last provision relates to the new trend in RU 486 abortions: “webcam” abortions. A webcam abortion involves the pregnant woman going to an abortion clinic where there is no abortionist onsite. She “connects” with a far away abortionist via the computer screen. After an online “interview” the abortionist pushes his computer key and a drawer with pills opens up on the computer near the woman.
Notably, abortions by pill have continued to rise across the nation. In Kansas, there were 2002 RU 486 abortions in 2010, which is 26.2% of the total abortions.
Herbert Hodes, the Overland Park abortionist who testified against the bill, did tell the House Fed-State committee that he agreed with the anti-webcam provisions! Hodes said he wouldn’t do them because he couldn’t control what happened after the woman left his clinic.