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State Opposes Family Planning Clinic Attempt to Piggyback on Planned Parenthood Suit

by | Oct 12, 2011

By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life Legislative Director

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

Now another clinic which does not perform abortion, seeks to join the Planned Parenthood suit, a move opposed by the state of Kansas.

The Dodge City Family Planning Clinic is complaining that 40% of its funding ($38,000) was lost due to exclusion under the new Title X proviso, and thus they should be added as a party in the Planned Parenthood lawsuit. The irony is this makes the state’s case. Contrary to what Planned Parenthood told Judge Marten, the budget proviso was neutral in applicability and did NOT target abortion providers!

The clinic’s application comes after the state submitted a 144-page appeal to the 10th circuit court to overturn Marten’s ruling. Kansas’ legal team argues that although Marten “found no specific conflict between the language of the state statute and the federal statute, [he] nonetheless struck down the statute because of the Legislature’s alleged bad motive.” (The bad motive is allegedly punishing abortion providers.) The state health department had already been making contracts with full service health clinics when Judge Marten issued the injunction.

Dodge City Family Planning consists of two people–a nurse practitioner and a receptionist.  They say they are “collateral damage” of a law based on the state’s animus to abortion, and claim that Kansas wrongly put qualifiers on Title X recipients.

The state’s brief argues that

no federal language was contravened by the Kansas proviso;

it’s much too late to join the suit;

this is a move to take advantage of a favorable judge;

Dodge City Family Planning does not share the legal standing of Planned Parenthood as ‘penalized for being abortion providers’;

no clinic rights have been violated requiring another emergency judicial intervention;

adding a party to the suit delays the state’s appeal of a harmful ruling.

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Categories: PPFA