KANSAS CITY, Kansas, July 5, 2011 ( – A federal judge in Kansas City has issued an injunction blocking state officials from enforcing new health regulations for Kansas abortion clinics.

District Judge Carlos Murguia granted the temporary injunction to the Aid for Women abortion clinic in Kansas City, and the Center for Women’s Health abortion clinic in Overland Park. Both had failed to meet the new licensing regulations promulgated by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) on June 17, requiring compliance by July 1.

Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Overland Park gained its license to operate on June 30, making it the only legally-operating abortion clinic in Kansas under the new regulations.  The clinic is facing felony charges related to illegal abortion activity

Both of the suing businesses contended they needed far more time to comply with the regulations, which they insisted were designed to shut down the abortion clinics rather than to guard women’s safety.

The Kansas law requires physicians intending to perform more than five elective abortions per month to receive an annual license from KDHE. The regulations further mandate that abortionists have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic, and that clinics to be fitted with drugs and equipment to deal with a medical crisis. The regulations specify dimensions and temperature settings for operating rooms and recovery areas, and require that hallways and doorways be retrofitted to allow easy transport of patients on medical gurneys.

Murguia opted to issue the injunction until the next hearing on the basis that the clinics would lose both business and clientele while the merits of the law were being examined.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said she was “disappointed” in Murguia’s decision, but said pro-life advocates were not giving up hope that he would ultimately rule in favor of the law.

“We are far from despondent because he emphasized more than once that it was very early in the process and that more information was needed,” said Culp.

Culp also said the judge was fed “misleading information” which she believed would be remedied at a later hearing. 

The Kansas City Star reports that KDHE intends to move ahead with implementing the permanent licensing regulations, saying that Murguia’s ruling applies only to the emergency regulations. 

“We respect the court’s decision and will uphold the law,” said Robert Moser, secretary of KDHE in a statement. “Judge Murguia’s ruling is narrowly tailored and does not prevent KDHE from moving forward to establish permanent licensing regulations. As a physician, I will oversee the process to insure that the permanent regulations are in the best interests of Kansas patients.”