Judge blocks Kansas law aimed at Planned Parenthood

KANSAS CITY, Kan Tue Aug 2, 2011 12:24am 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, and Kansas plans to appeal the decision.

U.S. 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.

"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," Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has said the law stops federal money for cancer screenings, breast exams and birth control for low-income patients. It has said the law amounts to restricting Kansans' access to health care.

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.

"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.

A similar law cutting Medicaid dollars for Planned Parenthood in Indiana was blocked by a federal judge there in June. Indiana has appealed that ruling, saying the issue was an administrative matter that did not belong in the courts.

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.

Separately in Indiana, Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a brief asking a U.S. appeals court to reverse a ruling halting implementation of a law that blocks Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions.

"This dispute belongs between the state and the federal government that administers and funds the Medicaid program, not between a private contractor and the state," Zoeller said.

"The proper place to argue this dispute is the federal government's own administrative hearing process, established for exactly this purpose," he added.

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

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
robert1234 wrote:
Once more, Kansas has proven itself to be literally stupid. Christ never opposed abortion and never even mentioned it when, during his life, abortion was extremely common in the general population. Abortion is used by the ultra-right as a tool to sucker the stupid, the ignorant and the naive into the Republican party. The simple test is that these anti-abortion people also support capital punishment, something Christ definitely opposed. This isn’t really about abortion, it’s about power and control and nothing more.

Aug 02, 2011 6:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
lemonfemale wrote:
Never mind what Jesus may or may not have said about abortion. It is a scientific fact that what is killed in abortion is a human child- a genetically human individual life. To call this child anything other than a human being is a philisophical choice like saying that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man or the offspring of a Jew and a non-Jew is a mischling. As to whether prolifers support capital punishment- most of the ones I know do not. Nor do I. But if you can find for me a baby who kills a police officer or commits murder for hire, maybe I would reconsider. In other words, there is an obvious difference between abortion and capital punishment.
Back to the article- taxpayers have the right not to give money to Planned Parenthood as long as PP insists on bloodying its hands with abortion.

Aug 03, 2011 6:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.