Judge blocks Kansas law aimed at Planned Parenthood

KANSAS CITY, Kan Mon Aug 1, 2011 7:46pm EDT

Related Topics

KANSAS CITY, Kan (Reuters) - A judge has blocked a Kansas law that would stop federal family planning money from going to Planned Parenthood, officials confirmed on Monday.

District Judge J. Thomas Marten granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the reproductive health organization, which had sued seeking to block implementation of the amendment cutting its funding.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri had said the law stops federal money for cancer screenings, breast exams and birth control for low-income patients‘.

Kansas plans to appeal the decision.

"It appears that the Court declared a duly-enacted Kansas statute unconstitutional without engaging in the fact-finding one would expect before reaching such a conclusion," said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, in a statement.

The Kansas law is one of a number of state anti-abortion measures which have passed this year, enabled by Republican legislative majorities and governors.

Planned Parenthood claimed that the law restricted Kansans' access to health care.

"Ensuring every patient continues to receive affordable family planning services and basic preventive health care, without long-term interruption, remains our primary concern," said Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, in a statement.

A similar law cutting Medicaid dollars for Planned Parenthood in Indiana was blocked by a federal judge there.

Anti-abortion activists have targeted Planned Parenthood because it provides abortion services, although federal law prohibits the organization from using federal money for abortions.

Dr. Robert Moser, secretary for Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said in a statement that federal money was not intended as an "entitlement program" for Planned Parenthood.

"Other providers are already offering a fuller spectrum of health care for Kansas patients," said Moser. "This highly unusual ruling implies a private organization has a right to a taxpayer subsidy. The people of Kansas disagree."

The law affected $330,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Wichita and Hays, according to spokeswoman Sarah Gillooly.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Additional reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Jerry Norton and Greg McCune)

FILED UNDER: