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While court challenges grind on, Kansas clinics continue to receive state money

by | Jul 20, 2012

By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life Legislative Director

As the Kansas election season heats up, pro-abortion advocates are gleefully blaming pro-life incumbents for $675,000 in legal fees that the state Attorney General’s office readily acknowledges was spent over the past 12 months defending three pro-life bills passed in 2011.

What conveniently has gotten no media mileage is the big bucks that have gone—and continue to go–to Planned Parenthood clinics in the meantime because of these lawsuits. Put another way, they have not prevailed in a single case to date but have received a lot of money in the meanwhile.

In one case alone, a federal judge in Wichita held that while the lawsuit drags on, $632,000 in Title X funds be taken from the state health department to pay Planned Parenthood clinics in Hays & Wichita and the Dodge City Family Planning clinic.

This lawsuit was filed in June 2011 by Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri in June, landed in the court of U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten. It challenges a budget mandate that directs the state health department (KDHE) to award Federal Title X family planning contracts primarily to full service public health clinics. In this way, tax money subsidizes full-service healthcare for the indigent.

Judge Marten ruled that Kansas’ annual budget proviso to fund full-service public clinics with Title X funding was merely a ruse to defund Planned Parenthood because of their abortion advocacy. And then, to emphasize his own animus, Marten joined a non-Planned Parenthood business to the list of recipients of Title X money!

Exactly where did the money go? Kansans for Life obtained records from the KDHE. They reveal that of the eight quarterly payments Judge Marten has ordered for three clinics, five payments have been made, totaling $388,000—money, by the way, which can never be repaid to Kansas regardless of the outcome! In fact, the appeal by the Kansas Attorney General against Marten’s injunction and payments won’t even have oral arguments heard until September 18 in Denver.

The two other lawsuits being pursued are against Kansas versions of laws that were court –tested and upheld decades ago in other states! One is a challenge to Kansas new clinic licensure, based on laws in several states, including definitive– and arguably tougher– regulations from South Carolina upheld by the appeals court.

A string of legal starts and stops ensued, the effect of which was that the pro-abortion plaintiffs lost.  The state court of Judge Franklin Theis will hear oral arguments August 3, 2012. on whether a summary judgment will prevail, rather than a full blown trial.

The third lawsuit is one pressed by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) against the 2011 law banning private health insurers from covering elective abortion. Missouri and other states had this law in place for many years. No injunction was won and the law is in effect. More briefs will be filed in the next few weeks arguing that this also should be decided by summary judgment, and not the full trial scheduled for March 18, 2013.

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