All of this time, we thought South Dakota would be the first state to unofficially go "abortion free," by forcing women to meet with anti-choice CPCs before they could obtain an abortion, then having no CPCs sign up to meet with women.
Turns out Kansas may beat it to the punch.
According to Mother Jones, the state's last three clinics are being served notice that they have exactly two weeks to update their facilitites to comply with new laws that ask them to remodel everything from door openings to the size of their closets, and undergo certifications that could take months to get finished. Without making these changes, the state government claims, the clinics must be ready to shut their doors.
The department wasted no time in drafting the new rules, issuing the final version on June 17 and informing clinics that they would have to comply with the rules by July 1, as the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, told the AP that inspectors were expected at their clinic in Overland Park, Kansas, on Wednesday. There are only three clinics left in the state: Planned Parenthood's, a clinic in Overland Park, and the Aid for Women clinic in Kansas City.
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 acquire 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.
For the women of Kansas, this could mean waiting even longer for an abortion, or perhaps missing the chance to get one altogether. And of course, to the anti-choice, that means victory, because no access is exactly their goal.