Archive

Kan. House Passes Bill That Would Modify Telemedicine Abortion Ban

June 1, 2015 — The Kansas House on Saturday voted 109-2 to pass a bill (S Sub for HB 2228) that changes the language of a 2011 telemedicine abortion ban (SB 36), the AP/Franklin Daily Journal reports.

The measure, which unanimously passed the state Senate last week, now heads to Gov. Sam Brownback (R) for consideration (AP/Franklin Daily Journal, 5/30).

Background

SB 36, which was signed into law by Brownback in 2011, requires that medication abortion be administered in the presence of a physician and encourages patients to return to the physician between 12 and 18 days after completing a medication abortion regimen.

The law also authorizes the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to write standards for buildings and equipment, issue annual licenses for abortion clinics, fine clinics for non-compliance and go to court to close clinics. Further, it requires the state's abortion clinics to be inspected twice annually, with at least one of the inspections being unannounced; mandates that at least two people -- one of whom must be a woman -- other than the patient be in the room during a pelvic exam or abortion; and requires physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at an accredited hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit against the law on behalf of two physicians, Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, who argue that the legislation is unnecessary, burdensome and intended to discourage physicians from performing abortions. Judges have blocked the law from taking effect.

New Legislation

The new measure represents an attempt by state lawmakers to resolve litigation against the 2011 law. It would amend the law to clarify that the requirement that a physician be in the room with the patient when administering medication abortion would not apply in cases of medical emergencies.

However, CRR senior counsel Stephanie Toti said the proposed change would "multiply the issues in the lawsuit" (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/26).