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Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2011

Judge refuses to stay, pending appeal, order preventing Kansas from diverting funds from Planned Parenthood

August 18, 2011, 11:49 a.m. Updated August 18, 2011, 5:39 p.m.

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— Planned Parenthood may return to federal court to force Kansas to immediately release federal funds for the group’s non-abortion services because it doesn’t believe the state is complying with a judge’s order, the leader of its regional chapter said Thursday.

President and CEO Peter Brownlie told The Associated Press that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has not received any family planning funds from the state, despite an Aug. 1 order from U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten, of Wichita. Brownlie said the group has been consulting since last week with its attorneys about the issue.

Marten’s order blocked a provision in the current state budget that prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning dollars. The judge agreed with the group that it was being improperly targeted and that the provision represented an attempt by the state to dictate a new requirement for a federal program.

Planned Parenthood estimates that the provision, if enforced, would cost it about $330,000 a year and force it either to increase charges for low-income patients or cut back on services such as providing birth control and performing exams. The state has appealed Marten’s ruling, but Brownlie said it was obligated to restore the funding as soon as Marten issued his decision.

“We and our attorneys are talking about what our next steps are,” Brownlie said. “The state’s refusal to comply with the court’s order is rather remarkable.”

Marten declined to discuss the issue because, his judicial assistant said in an email, he doesn’t comment on pending cases.

State officials also didn’t respond Thursday to Brownlie’s comments, but last week, the attorney general’s office asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to overturn Marten’s decision. The state also asked Marten to suspend his order while the appeal is pending, but he refused Wednesday.

Lawyers for the attorney general’s office then filed two new requests Thursday with Marten, attacking Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit, which names Gov. Sam Brownback and Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser as defendants.

One sought to have Brownback dismissed as a defendant, arguing that he is “clothed with absolute legislative immunity,” meaning he can’t be sued for actions “taken in the sphere of legitimate legislative activity.” The other, Moser’s answer to the lawsuit, calls its allegations “without merit” and asks for Marten to dismiss it.

The budget provision was among a raft of successful measures this year restricting abortion across the country, with anti-abortion groups’ and lawmakers’ efforts bolstered by the election of new Republican governors such as Brownback. He called upon legislators to create “a culture of life” once he took office in January and signed several major initiatives.

The state’s two abortion providers other than Planned Parenthood are involved in their own federal lawsuit over new regulations specifically for hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices performing five or more elective abortions a month. And this week, the American Civil Liberties Union sued to block a new law restricting private insurance coverage of elective abortions.

Brownback defended the anti-abortion measures Thursday, noting they won legislative approval with large, bipartisan majorities.

“You can’t know for sure what all comes out of that afterwards, but it was the will of the Legislature and the people of the state of Kansas,” he told reporters.

Kansas isn’t alone in trying to deny Planned Parenthood funds, with actions taken by legislators in Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

The Kansas provision required the state to distribute federal family planning dollars first to public health departments and hospitals. The state Department of Health and Environment committed most of the money that had been going to Planned Parenthood to Sedgwick County’s health department.

The provision doesn’t mention Planned Parenthood by name, but lawmakers who backed it said repeatedly that they were trying to “defund” the group. They argued that taxpayers shouldn’t indirectly subsidize abortions, though none of the funds can be used directly for such services.

Planned Parenthood performs abortions at a clinic in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, but it provides other services there and at clinics in Wichita and Hays.

The group argues that the provision violates its rights to free speech and due legal process because it is being punished for advocating abortion rights. Marten agreed, saying the state hadn’t shown that Planned Parenthood’s services were inadequate after at least 25 years of receiving federal funds.

Comments

jafs 3 years, 4 months ago

Even if his statements are true, if the laws are unconstitutional, then they shouldn't stand.

SilenceDogood 3 years, 4 months ago

Too bad Joe College is still not in the shirt business.

KayCee 3 years, 4 months ago

And just how would it be 'unconstitutional'?

jafs 3 years, 4 months ago

Wait and see what happens with the court case - I'm not sure of the exact details yet.

But, an immediate thought is that these are federal, not state dollars, that he's blocking from going to PP.

If it is, however, unconstitutional, then it doesn't matter whether the majority in KS want it, or the legislators in KS want it, or anybody else wants it. Our system is not simply a "majority wins everything" system - there are a variety of checks and balances, and a constitution as well, to protect our basic rights.

big_john 3 years, 4 months ago

I thought the feds were broke. We have no budget in DC, but everyone still wants a piece of the pie. Someone has to start having some common sense.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

If the vast majority of the legislature does not want to appropriate this money there will be a way found to stop the flow to Planned Parenthood. Anyone who defends this organization needs to do a little research into the racist eugenics roots of both Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood. No one who supports true civil rights for all persons should support the selective killing of members of society based upon race!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

By that logic, we should scrap the constitution because a whole lot of slave holders were involved in writing it.

phsxtchr 3 years, 4 months ago

It is interesting that it was "the will of the Legislature and the state's people" to fund the Kansas Arts Commission and yet Brownback went against this will and vetoed the funding. But in the case of the above issue, Brownback is using "the will of the Legislature and the state's people" argument to support his defunding of PP. Apparently, in Brownback's mind, "the will of the Legislature and the state's people" matters sometimes but doesn't matter other times.

Considering both of these actions by Brownback together, it seems clear that "the will of the Legislature and the state's people" really has no bearing on Brownback's decisions. The only thing that seems to really matter is the will of King Brownback (and the Kochs etc.).

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

I noticed you did not address the racist roots of planned parenthood?

MarcoPogo 3 years, 4 months ago

Since when is everybody required to refute everything that you post? This isn't a debate round where somebody "dropped" a dis-ad.

jafs 3 years, 4 months ago

I notice you haven't addressed the issue of Brownback's inconsistency in doing the "will of the people" or the "will of the legislators".

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

you need to look at the vote in the Kansas House more than one voted for the pro-life bills!

jafs 3 years, 4 months ago

Ok.

And the legislature also voted to continue funding the Arts Commission, but Brownback eliminated that funding.

That's called inconsistency, as I said.

Jimo 3 years, 4 months ago

"I noticed you did not address the racist roots of planned parenthood?"

Nor the spittle spewing delusions of your typical paranoid off his meds, either. Your point?

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

personal attacks do not address the issues...

rhd99 3 years, 4 months ago

Folks, let's remember one thing here. BROWNBACKISTAN is one of the dumbest law school graduates we have running a government of sorts. The Supreme Court ruled in Roe V. Wade that women can choose whether or not to have an abortion. This idiot Governor knows nothing about women's health. NOTHING. If he had paid attention in law school, he would understand the judge's ruling today, oh wait, he's a religious zealot. Anything we want, he does not give a damn unless it fulfills his STUPID religious ideology.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Have you ever heard of Planned Parenthood v. Casey? The Courts have allowed reasonable regulation of abortion and these laws fit into that pattern!

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Did anyone even notice that yet another lawsuit over BB's anti-abortion measures has been brought against the state? http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/aug... What is this, now, number 5 in lawsuits altogether brought against the state? Whatever "savings" he is allegedly bringing the state is rapidly being eaten up.

jafs 3 years, 4 months ago

Yep.

On another story about this, we're spending $1200/hr. for 4 lawyers on one lawsuit.

Funny how the state is "broke" when it comes to funding education, the arts, and social services, but then ...

Grump 3 years, 4 months ago

When (not if) Kansas loses these suits it will be required to pay the Plaintiffs' attorneys' fees. It will be several million dollars. This is a very expensive way for BB to posture politically. Couldn't he do like Rick Perry and just threaten Ben Bernanke to attract attention?

rhd99 3 years, 4 months ago

Noted. Just think of it this way, the tighter Jerkback's grip, the more we are going to slip right through his grubby little hands. He can try, and pretend that he is God, but he is NOT!

Jimo 3 years, 4 months ago

I believe the GOP felon elected governor in Florida has caused this same lawsuit frenzy even while falsely claiming "We're broke."

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

The defense of the laws of Kansas is his job...

jonas_opines 3 years, 4 months ago

Then he should focus on that rather than the creation of so many onerous and easily-challenged new laws to enforce.

SDTPlant 3 years, 4 months ago

Here in Brownbackistan, the "anti abortion measure" has the stamp of approval of the people? According to Sam? What people?

Don't pretend to speak for me! I took notice of the fact that after everyone got very vociferous re: closure of the Lawrence SRS office, they backed away from that one. It demonstrates the power our collective voices have over those pretenders.

Why is it that it takes the proverbial willow switch to energize the majority in KS to speak up on their own behalf and in their best interests? Damn the Koch Bros! Full speed ahead!

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

huge majorities in the House and Senate...those we elect to represent us in Topeka...

clovis_sangrail 3 years, 4 months ago

Ordinarily, I would agree, but that was before I read your post and saw 'Brownstain'. I hadn't seen that one before. It is bloody brilliant. Thanks for drawing it to my attention.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

The left can't seem to function without name calling and attacking others personally! We may disagree on these issues but we should be able to simply express our point of view and not be attacked by the "political correctness" squad!

lunacydetector 3 years, 4 months ago

p.p. is so entrenched in kansas politics....what will they do if they don't get our money, finally start doing pap smears they claimed to do that they never do?

pace 3 years, 4 months ago

Brownback is using his power to illegally block funds and to block citizen's rights. Two wrongs don't make a right, watta guy.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Planned Parenthood is an organization with racist roots and it is the largest abortion provider in the nation. It would be interesting for some of you liberals to get a map and find out where most of those clinics are located--in the heart of inner-cities--where minorities are dominant. It would seem that Planned Parenthood actually targets them! Perhaps this organization still has some racist tendencies and perhaps aborts a much larger percentage of minority children than whites??? (Check it out)...

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