Senate president shelves anti-abortion bill, citing concerns over provision dealing with KU Med

Posted on May 9, 2012


Lawrence Journal World, May 9, 2012 by Scott Rothschild

Topeka — Senate President Steve Morris on Wednesday sent back to committee an anti-abortion bill, citing concerns about what the proposal’s impact would be on the accreditation of the Kansas University Medical Center.

“I have consistently voted pro-life,” said Morris, R-Hugoton. “While I will always fight for pro-life values, we must also protect the accreditation of our flagship medical center.”

The measure, which has been approved by the House, makes numerous changes to Kansas abortion law.

One of those changes would prevent state employees, including doctors-in-training at the medical center in Kansas City, Kan., from performing abortions on state property or state time.

KU Medical Center officials voiced concerns that the accreditation of its obstetrics and gynecology program would be in danger, and legislators added a provision saying its medical residents could do abortions off-site, on their own time, for a year. But the Medical Center wanted a permanent exception.

Morris said the Senate needed more time to consider the proposal. He declared House substitute for Senate Bill 313 “materially altered,” which sends it back to a Senate committee with only a few days left in the legislative session.

According to KU, doctors-in-training at the Medical Center are considered state employees for purposes of insurance and other factors. National accreditation requirements state that obstetrics-gynecologists residents are to be offered training in abortion procedures, but residents may opt out of the training due to religious or moral objections. KU medical residents receive this training at facilities not owned or operated by the state.

In the bill, language protecting OB-GYN medical residents would expire in June 2013, but the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) will be reviewing accreditation at KU Med in October 2013.

“We’re focused on maintaining the accreditation for the university’s OB-GYN program, which will be reviewed in October 2013,” said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “Accreditation is vital to our ability to train the health providers Kansas patients need. We appreciate the efforts of those who have sought to protect our ability to be accredited and will continue to work with policymakers to identify a solution.”

The KU Medical Center, with residency programs in Kansas City and Wichita, provides the only OB-GYN training in the state. In Kansas, 82 counties do not have an OB-GYN, KU said.

Posted in: Kansas