TOPEKA, Kansas, June 30, 2011 ( – Only hours before new regulations were to take effect, news emerged late Thursday afternoon that Kansas officials have reversed their decision to deny Planned Parenthood a license to perform abortions, granting one last haven for abortions in the state.

The news of the reversal dampened the celebrations of pro-life advocates, who had expected Kansas to become the United States’ first abortion-free state when the regulations took effect Friday.

The state’s two other abortion clinics had been denied licenses to practice earlier this month. One of those clinics filed suit against the new law. On Thursday, Planned Parenthood had also filed a separate suit complaining that it had also been denied a license, a decision that would have left Kansas free of legal abortion as of midnight Friday morning.

The Planned Parenthood filing in federal court revealed the abortion clinic’s back-and-forth with state officials as it scrambled to meet requirements and perform abortions without interruption.

According to Planned Parenthood, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) told the abortion provider that it would grant a request for a re-inspection on June 30, as it had failed its first inspection Monday, but did not respond to their request to lay aside consideration of other requirements the clinic still failed to meet.

Planned Parenthood complained that health officials’ “refusal to grant the requested waivers” of the new regulations “will have the effect of making abortion almost completely, if not completely, unavailable in Kansas.”

Local pro-life leaders celebrated when the Associated Press reported on the eve of the deadline that Planned Parenthood had not been granted permission to perform abortions. “As of tomorrow morning, Kansas is the first abortion free state,” Troy Newman of Operation Rescue had told

But hours after that report, KDHE officials told media that one license had in fact been granted, but did not say to which clinic. Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, independently confirmed that his group had obtained the license.