Kansas legislators sent two bills to Governor Sam Brownback Wednesday that implement new health and safety standards for Kansas’ three abortion clinics.
The bills direct the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to begin unannounced inspections, and write new standards for exits, lighting, bathrooms and equipment. KDHE will also have the authority to issue licenses, fine clinics and begin court proceedings to have them shut down.
Also among the new rules are new guidelines on administering the drug RU-486, which induces abortion. Under new rules, the pills can only be provided and dispensed by a licensed physician.
Advocates of the bill say they’re protecting the health of women who seek services in these clinics. Opponents contend that the new regulations will cost clinics hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, forcing them out of business.
The bill was not without opposition on the Republican side. Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler (R-Lindsborg) spoke out against the bill on the senate floor.
“All Kansans, regardless of gender, deserve to be safe when any procedure of an invasive nature is performed upon their person,” Emler said. “ While there may be emotional issues incident to an abortion that are different from other procedures, the patients in those other procedures are just as vulnerable to infection and complications as the patient receiving an abortion. Because I believe in the sanctity of the life of every patient, I vote no.”
Emler also asked the bill’s authors to draft legislation that, “...protects the life of every patient, regardless of gender or procedure.”
The bill ultimately passed the senate 24-15. Brownback is expected to sign the legislation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report