Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dog Bites Man

A law imposing restrictions on abortion clinics struck down? You don't say:

KC judge bars new Mo. abortion rules
By Jo Mannies

A district judge in Kansas City has issued a preliminary injunction that bars Missouri health officials from imposing new restrictions on abortion clinics. The order, issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith, had been sought by a Bridgeton physician, Dr. Allen Palmer, and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, in a suit contesting the state's new requirements that all clinics that perform five or more abortions a month be registered as "ambulatory surgery facilities."

Such status would require the clinics and Palmer's office to meet a lot of new standards, from parking lot size to equipment and personnel. Planned Parenthood has contended the new restrictions would force it to close clinics in Columbia, Mo., and Kansas City.

Palmer has contended the new law would put his practice in jeopardy by requiring more than $1 million in changes to his medical offices at Women's Care Gynecology Inc. in Bridgeton. His lawyers also have noted that private physicians' offices are excluded from the state law's definition of ambulatory surgical centers.

Smith order came two weeks after he conducted a hearing on the case. His order remains in effect until the lawsuit is resolved.

A spokesman for the Missouri attorney general's office, which was helping to defend the new law, said officials were studying the order to decide what action to take. The state can appeal the judge's ruling.

The case has been closely watched by abortion activists on both sides. Lawyers with national anti-abortion and abortion-rights groups are involved in the case.

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