Judge Holds Hearing Over Abortion Law
A gynecologist says new regulations that the state is proposing for abortion clinics are not medically necessary and would not insure the safety of women. Dr. Paul Blumenthal from Stanford University testified for Planned Parenthood on Monday in a federal hearing on the group's lawsuit opposing the standards. The standards would regulate things such as the width of hallways and the height of ceilings. Blumenthal said they were not unreasonable but "they should have some clinical value."
The hearing is to determine whether federal Judge Ortrie Smith will issue a preliminary injunction stopping the implementation of the new law. The measure would put more abortion clinics under state supervision by categorizing them as outpatient surgery centers. That would require them to meet specific state building, staffing and health standards. Last month U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith blocked enforcement of the new law. The law would apply to any facility that performs more than five first-trimester abortions a month, or any second- or third-trimester abortions.
The state was to begin presenting witnesses Monday afternoon.
Supporters argue that it is necessary to ensure the health and safety of women. But Planned Parenthood claims the law would shut down its clinic in Kansas City and temporarily close its Columbia clinic while it made the required renovations.