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Federal Judge orders Kansas to pay clinic that joined Planned Parenthood suit

by | Oct 20, 2011

By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life Legislative Director

Shortly after Tuesday’s 45-minute hearing, federal district Judge Thomas Marten issued a funding order for the ACLU-represented Dodge City Family Planning (DCFP) clinic. DCFP had asked for $40,000, plus attorney fees.

Last week, Marten permitted DCFP to join Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit to halt the new Kansas budget proviso directing that Title X family planning money managed by the state health department be contracted primarily with full-service public clinics.

In August Marten granted Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri a temporary injunction that halted the new Kansas law. He subsequently ordered an immediate state payment of approximately $58,000 to Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri.

The state of Kansas has already appealed this earlier injunction to the 10th Circuit court of appeals. Action there is not anticipated for at least six weeks.

Absent any 10th Circuit action, Marten ordered the state to immediately pay DCFP a ‘quarterly payment’ of unspecified amount followed with another payment in six weeks. Yesterday’s order marks the third failing clinic Judge Marten has funded through an injunctive action.

Marten relies heavily on one DCFP-employee affidavit that the two-person clinic alone could provide family planning for hundreds of low-income, Spanish-speaking women in Dodge City. However, in an October 13 rebuttal brief, the state’s legal team contradicted that affidavit with facts: that Kansas women in that southwestern county “have access to family planning services through (1) private providers, (2) an over-$2 million-dollar-funded Federally Qualified Health Center, the United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries (which chose not to apply as a state Title X provider because of the lawsuit), and (3) Title X- providing agencies, totaling 16 nearby clinics.”

The State’s filing asserts, “the State of Kansas will continue to ensure the availability of, and access to, a wider variety of critical medical services to those Kansans most in need. In essence, the only entity that would “win” from injunctive relief would be DCFP, not the low income Kansans for whom Title X was enacted.”

Near the close of the hearing, Marten said  he “won’t be surprised if the 10th circuit reverses him” in this Title X matter, adding that, “he invariably agrees with them.” (Go figure that one!)

Categories: PPFA