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Archive for Monday, August 1, 2011

Judge blocks Kan. law defunding Planned Parenthood

August 1, 2011, 8:27 a.m. Updated August 2, 2011, 12:22 a.m.

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— An incredulous federal judge on Monday rejected the state’s claim that a new Kansas statute that denied Planned Parenthood federal funding did not target the group, ruling that the law unconstitutionally intended to punish Planned Parenthood for advocating for abortion rights and would likely be overturned.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten granted the request from Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri for a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the law, which would require the state to allocate federal family planning dollars first to public health departments and hospitals, and leave no money for Planned Parenthood or similar groups.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the state will appeal the ruling, which orders Kansas to continue providing the federal Title X grant funding to Planned Parenthood.

Marten’s order handed the state its second major setback after abortion foes succeeded in pushing through the Republican-controlled Legislature a slew of anti-abortion legislation, only to see federal judges quickly block their enforcement. Last month in a separate lawsuit, a federal judge in Kansas City, Kan., also temporarily blocked stringent new abortion clinic regulations.

Planned Parenthood argued the Kansas statute is part of a national campaign to cut off the entity’s federal family planning money because of its advocacy of abortion rights. A federal judge in late June put on hold on a similar law in Indiana. Similar actions to partially or fully defend Planned Parenthood were taken by state legislatures in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Marten agreed with Planned Parenthood’s argument that the Kansas law is unconstitutional because it would impose additional restrictions on a federally-funded program, thereby violating the Supremacy Clause. He also agreed with the group’s contention that the law was intended to punish Planned Parenthood for advocating abortion rights and therefore infringes on its rights of association guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth amendments.

“The purpose of the statute was to single out, punish and exclude Planned Parenthood,” Marten said.

Planned Parenthood had argued that that several lawmakers boasted on the floor, in news releases and in Twitter posts about defunding the group and touted the law as a victory for the anti-abortion movement. Marten, who was nominated to the federal bench by former President Bill Clinton in 1995, specifically noted in handing down his decision the floor statement referring to Planned Parenthood by the legislator who proposed the language at issue.

The judge also noted that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback reportedly told to the state GOP caucus before the vote in that Kansas would become only the second state in the nation, after Indiana, to “zero out funding of Planned Parenthood.”

Planned Parenthood had argued that without the injunction, it would have lost $330,000 a year in federal funding and been forced to close its clinic in the western Kansas city of Hays. It contended its 5,700 patients would face higher costs, longer wait or travel times for appointments and have less access to services.

Planned Parenthood has sued to overturn the law, and Marten’s order was to remain in effect until the case is resolved.

The Title X funding at issue targets low income individuals and helps pay for reproductive health care services such as contraception, cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. No federal funds are used for abortions.

Planned Parenthood offers abortion services in Kansas only at its clinic in Overland Park, a Kansas City suburb, but it also has clinics in Wichita and Hays.

The state contended the injunction was unnecessary because other entities could provide the same services Planned Parenthood offers in Wichita and Hays.

Monday’s hearing was the first legal test of the statute. Planned Parenthood is challenging its constitutionality based in part on the Supremacy Clause, which prohibits states from imposing conditions of eligibility on federal programs that are not required by federal law.

Kansas has defended the statute as a matter of state sovereignty, arguing an injunction would unconstitutionally replace the state’s discretion with the court’s judgment.

“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,” the state attorney general said in a prepared statement.

Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said the judge’s ruling was clear that the law was unconstitutional and enacted for the wrong purpose.

“We take comfort in the fact that the judge said we have a strong likelihood of prevailing on the merits when the full case is heard,” Brownlie said.

Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director for Kansans for Life, said she would have been surprised if Marten had denied Planned Parenthood anything.

“The simplified issue is whether the federal government has taken over complete control of health care allocations to benefit its own priorities, or whether the state can make its own prudent priorities,” she said in a written statement.

Comments

ShePrecedes 2 years, 8 months ago

As I have said so many, many times before:

The Religious Rite will bring about the end of the US Christian Church.

And yet again, I remind those who are wishing to repress women: there is a consequence to what you are trying to do !!:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/02/women-church-attendance_n_916604.html Women Show Deep Drop In Church Attendance, Survey Says

The survey also found a marked stepping away from congregations: a 17 percentage increase in the number of women who have become “unchurched.”

“For years, many church leaders have understood that ‘as go women, so goes the American church,’” wrote Barna Group founder George Barna, on his website. “Looking at the trends over the past 20 years, and especially those related to the beliefs and behavior of women, you might conclude that things are not going well for conventional Christian churches.”

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ShePrecedes 2 years, 8 months ago

Thank the gods!!

Someone has some sense in this crazy, religiously political state.

Someone loves women. It is not (!!) the Religious Rite.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

Give it up, Ferris. You're talking at this person, not to them. They aren't here to actually "debate" or learn anything. They will repeat the same rhetoric over and over again even in the face of the most blatant facts. In fact, I'm pretty sure that their true beliefs about the subject are very skillfully hidden and that what they are doing is a neurotic, attention seeking thing akin to OCD. Oddly, I do have to admit their behavior and certain things they have said have served to make me do some research and clarify my own thinking with myself, but not in the direction they (supposedly) desire. I truly believe the best possible thing any of us can do is ignore them. As this award winning website hasn't seen fit to give us an "ignore" feature we'll just have to grit our teeth and get stern with ourselves (or at least I will). "You can lead someone to knowledge but you can't make them think." Trite but true.

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ferrislives 2 years, 8 months ago

kansanjayhawk (from your August 2, 2011 at 7:05 p.m. post in response to cait48):

Let me (hopefully) education you a bit. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive for a reason; it's not an "abortion pill". cait48 was just trying to give uptight people such as yourself something to get riled up about, which obviously worked.

Plan B prevents the egg and sperm from meeting in the first place to prevent conception; thus avoiding abortions. Women only have three days to use it before conception, and it doesn't work after you are already pregnant.

Maybe you should spend less time watching Faux News, and more time researching the truth about the drivel you like to spew on everyone: http://www.planbonestep.com/plan-b-faq.aspx

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jayhawxrok 2 years, 8 months ago

Brownback is providing a path to 1860, nothing more. His zealotry is forefront and his pursuit of that drives him, he cares not one tinker's damn about the State of Kansas or its citizens.

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kansanjayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

pro-life citizens believe that the best way to reduce unwanted pregancies is to rebuild a culture of life and reinforce the traditional family unit. Good relationships with a mom and dad and promotion of values like waiting for sex until one is married is a good start. We should all be unified on these issues and Governor Brownback is providing a path to help lead us to this culture of life.

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Stain 2 years, 8 months ago

They ought to support sex education and birth control as much as possible, since they don't want to help women and families out. At least honestly help prevent unplanned pregnancy, Republicans.

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coleja 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad that the judge ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood. This isn't just about abortion but women's healthcare in general. If you don't agree with abortion then you should at least agree with the use of contraceptives, preventative healthcare and the screening for STD's are for the good of society.

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SilverShadow 2 years, 8 months ago

The Supreme Court has already ruled abortion is legal. The law already says federal funds can not pay for abortions. Other than being a total anti-abortion fanatic, what is your your problem? After all. most people do not buy your religious beliefs that life begins at conception.Far more believe until birth, it is a fetus not a human. You can't force everyone to believe as you do. That is major problem with you and an those like you..

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kansanjayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

The truth is that the taxpayer should not be required to pay for the brutal violation of human rights that is abortion on demand! All of the other services, other than abortion, can be provided by local health departments serving local families and respecting the family values and parental rights of those families! We need to return to a culture of life in which each member of the human family is given dignity and respect and we defend the most innocent and defenseless.

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distant_voice 2 years, 8 months ago

I've got a much better idea that N.O.W. would be drooling over and every Democrat and Judge in the country would rush to support. When pregnant women enter the hospital, let's just issue them a baseball bat. If they don't like their babies after they're born, they can just bash their heads in. In practice, little difference to what we are already doing.

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Ray Parker 2 years, 8 months ago

Our elected Kansas representatives will decide how to spend our tax money, not a shopped-in leftist puppet of a federal judge. This is a clear violation of the separation of federal powers.

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verity 2 years, 8 months ago

"Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will require all new insurance plans to cover birth control without co-pays under the new health reform law. . . . By recognizing that birth control is an essential part of preventive health care, this HHS ruling will give countless women access to affordable birth control."

Thank you, former governor!

Wonder what Brownback will do to try to stop this.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

What Planned Parenthood Actually Does? ( This article provides a spending chart) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-planned-parenthood-actually-does/2011/04/06/AFhBPa2C_blog.html

I stand corrected: Abortion services are 3% not 2%.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

Now when do we get the First Amendment lawsuit against the "Office of Faith Based Initiatives"?

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Lana Christie-Hayes 2 years, 8 months ago

This is a great start... more positive results on other Browncrack opposition lawsuits to come.. news at 11! (So put that in your pipe and smoke it Brownie!)

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BABBOY 2 years, 8 months ago

That is much more important this abortion obsession.....

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BABBOY 2 years, 8 months ago

Tired of abortion. Tired of religous geeks telling me how to think

So I am just going to talke about something else and post it.

Actually hit a a gap wedge on to the green on a 455 yard par four. I hit my gap wedge about 100 yards so you do the math as to how long the drive was......

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

The Planned Parenthood contraceptive website offers up Abstinence at the top of the list. Abortions are like 2% of the overall budget not to mention the fact federal tax dollars cannot be utilized for abortions so I understand.

The remaining 98% of the budget is devoted to family planning issues and health care issues.

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DRsmith 2 years, 8 months ago

This means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of the suit.

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somedude20 2 years, 8 months ago

and girls will get the b-control for cheap or free, nice! Brownback, I know you don't like women and that they scare you (more for me, thank you) but they too are people and should have the rights that us men folk get (dude can get an erection pill but b-control costs women a small fortune) Women, take back the rights that Brownie is stealing from you (then meet up at South Park for a victory bra burning celebration, I will help support rights)

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whatupdown 2 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

Wow. You mean federal laws apply even in Brownie's realm? End sarcasm

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dogsandcats 2 years, 8 months ago

Thank you U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten.

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rhd99 2 years, 8 months ago

In your face, Brownback!!!

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autie 2 years, 8 months ago

I find it a bit ironic that a legislature and Governor that were out to cut the budget and save money will end up spending far more than was ever saved with two of these social agenda laws that are being challenged in the courts. (PP and the abortion rules)

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rooster 2 years, 8 months ago

So who didn't see this coming?

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veggiegirl 2 years, 8 months ago

Not sure if the headline is the AP's or LJW's, but it is seriously misleading. The funding that was cut, and that this ruling restored, was federal Title X funding. As in, for family planning. As in, preventing abortions. This headline veers way too close to suggesting the funding was for abortion care. Kansas unfortunately does not allow public funding of abortion care.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

(Cross posted from another thread.) Out of curiosity, just what was the exact excuse given by the Kansas legislature for specifically singling out Planned Parenthood for defunding from Title X funds? The state cries that "abortion had nothing to do with it", yet gives no replacement excuse for just why PP was stripped of funds it has historically qualified for and received for over 25 years. Nor does it give any reason why PP was the only organization singled out in this legislation. What I actually expect to see happen is that Kansas will, in the end, lose Title X funding, which will be redistributed to other states; one more example where Brownback would rather lose Federal dollars than have them go to people/organizations in this state with whom he ideologically disagrees. Ironically, he will then tout that he has "saved tax dollars from being spent", (N.D. Just as he did with the Arts Commission) never mind that they are Federal dollars and not state dollars and never mind that the money was spent anyway. Just not in this state.

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