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Kansas judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit challenging abortion clinic regulations

A Kansas judge on Friday refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state's new abortion clinic regulations after state officials asked that they be upheld without a trial. The state argued [AP report] that they have a rational reason for enacting the new regulations in that they were put in place to protect the health and safety of patients and the issue should not proceed to trial. In ruling against the state, the judge questioned whether the state has the administrative records necessary to justify the regulations. The regulations were imposed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment [official website] last year after the state enacted a law [SB36 materials] requiring abortion providers to obtain an annual license. The regulations set minimum requirement for the staff and buildings at sites which perform abortion services including specifying that recovery rooms must be kept within 65 and 75 degrees. They apply to any office, clinic or hospital that performs more than five elective abortions a month.

Last month a judge for the US District Court for the District of Kansas [official website] issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] to block SB36. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website], a known opponent of abortion, approved the regulation at issue in May, one month after signing [JURIST report] two other pieces of legislation restricting abortions. In April the governor approved the Abortion Reporting Accuracy and Parental Rights Act [HB 2035, PDF], requiring unemancipated minors to obtain notarized parental signatures before an abortion may be performed, and the "fetal pain bill" [HB 2218, PDF], which restricts abortions beyond 22 weeks of pregnancy based on the belief that a fetus can feel pain at that stage of gestation.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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