Archive for Monday, June 27, 2011

Planned Parenthood sues Kansas officials over funding

June 27, 2011, 2:10 p.m. Updated June 28, 2011, 12:49 a.m.

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— Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Monday over a provision in Kansas’ next state budget that prevents the organization from receiving federal family planning funding, marking the first of what could be several legal challenges to policies successfully pushed by abortion opponents this year.

The lawsuit comes as Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri awaits word from the state about whether it will receive a license to continue performing abortions after Friday in Kansas. Its clinic was inspected last week under a separate state law that recently set up a special licensing process for abortion providers, and one of Kansas’ three providers has already been denied a license.

Abortion rights advocates fear that none of the three will get a license, making Kansas the first state in the nation without an abortion provider. Other new Kansas laws taking effect Friday restrict private health insurance coverage for most abortions, require doctors to obtain written consent from parents before terminating minors’ pregnancies and tighten restrictions on abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy, based on the disputed claim that a fetus can feel pain.

“The climate is one of sustained assaults on the fundamental rights of women to health care,” Peter Brownlie, the Planned Parenthood chapter’s president and chief executive officer, said during a news conference.

The Planned Parenthood lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., challenges a budget provision that requires the state’s portion of federal family planning dollars go first to public health departments and hospitals. It leaves no money for Planned Parenthood and similar groups. Planned Parenthood expects the provision to cost it about $331,000.

The lawsuit alleges the provision violates the organization’s rights to free speech and legal due process. It was filed against Gov. Sam Brownback, an anti-abortion Republican who took office in January, and Robert Moser, his secretary of health and environment.

Punitive measure

The measure is less far-reaching than a plan enacted in Indiana that cuts off Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood. A federal judge has blocked that law, saying Indiana can’t deny funds for general health services such as breast exams and Pap tests just because Planned Parenthood also performs abortions.

Still, Planned Parenthood contends that Kansas’ budget provision will do “significant and irreparable harm” to men and women seeking family planning services. Planned Parenthood offers abortion services in Kansas only at its clinic in Overland Park, a Kansas City suburb, but also has clinics in Wichita and Hays that serve about 5,700 patients.

Its lawsuit argues that the budget provision represents a punishment for publicly advocating abortion rights.

“We rely on the legislative record and the public comments of the various public officials,” Brownlie said. “Its intent was to defund Planned Parenthood.”

But backers of the budget provision argue that Kansas residents who oppose abortion shouldn’t be forced to have their tax dollars subsidize abortions.

“Kansas taxpayers have made it clear they do not wish to underwrite organizations that perform abortions,” Brownback said in a statement. The governor later said the provision was among many enacted to help keep the state budget balanced and that Planned Parenthood doesn’t qualify for family planning dollars “because of its business practices.”

Planned Parenthood maintains that it keeps abortion services separate from other services, such as family planning, though abortion opponents contend any state funds ultimately help support the chapter’s clinic in Overland Park.

Paying after the fact

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said it makes little sense to give family planning dollars to Planned Parenthood since it can make money terminating unwanted pregnancies if it fails to prevent them.

“They evidently think they have a right to it because they’ve had it so long, but it’s taxpayer money,” Culp said.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood and the state’s two other abortion providers, also in the Kansas City area, have been considering legal challenges to the clinic licensing law and the accompanying regulations. Among other things, those regulations list drugs and equipment they must have on hand, set allowable temperatures in procedure and recovery rooms, and establish the minimum size for procedure rooms. The licensing law mandates annual state inspections, including at least one unannounced visit.

Three health department inspectors spent two days examining Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Overland Park last week, while the Women’s Health Center, also in Overland Park, has an inspection set for Wednesday. The state’s third provider, the Aid for Women clinic in Kansas City, was denied a license without being inspected after disclosing on its application that its building would need extensive renovations to meet the regulations, the latest version of which were released only last week.

The rules are considered temporary, in effect for only four months, until the state health department can take public comments and consider changes.

Comments

consumer1 3 years, 9 months ago

I hope the state sue's planned Parentlhood for court cost when they lose this frivilous case.

Jimo 3 years, 9 months ago

No, frivolous would be the part where Kansas makes up a power to tell the federal government how it's funding will be implemented.

I, for one, am not interested in footing the bill for right-wing social engineering schemes.

kseagle 3 years, 9 months ago

and I, for one, am not interested in footing the bill for left-wing social engineering schemes.

TheStonesSuck 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree, allowing young women to bleed out in a van is a much better alternative.

deec 3 years, 9 months ago

That's unlikely. "Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana started seeing Medicaid patients again Saturday, the day after a federal judge ruled the state couldn't cut off the organization's public funding for general health services just because it also provides abortions. " http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-ap-us-plannedparenthood,0,5123772.story

Kyle Chandler 3 years, 9 months ago

Planned Parenthood is obviously the victim in this neo-fascist 'game' KS politicians seem to be playing. I hope they win and the domino effect ensues. Stay in your Mega Churches and torture yourselves, leave the rest of us in peace and CHOICE.

Trust me, there are many more things your so called 'tax dollars' are going to that are truly horrifying.

And while you are whining about how tax money is spent, feel free to post your refund amount this year.

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 9 months ago

"Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said it makes little sense to give family planning dollars to Planned Parenthood since it can make money terminating unwanted pregnancies if it fails to prevent them."

And this woman is one of Sam Brownback's key advisers. Brilliant.

Dan Eyler 3 years, 9 months ago

With government budgets in the tank we cant fund everybody. Basically government needs to decide what the core services will be. It cant be what it once was, that being a cash cow for many organizations duplicating services. When we are looking at county public health departments getting their budgets cut organizations like planned parenthood are an after thought. That money needs to go to health departments across the state. Clearly when an organization like Planned Parenthood dictates state funding of their services over resources for an agency like the health departments across Kansas in the worst of economic times, a reality check for Planned Parenthood is clearly in order.

BigPrune 3 years, 9 months ago

The government likes taxpayers. Planned Parenthood removes future taxpayers from the planet. We won't make a dent in the trillions of dollars of Obama's debt without future taxpayers, just as Al Gore would've beat GW if democrats hadn't aborted their offspring 18 years prior to that election.

So suck it up and deal with reality. The "it's all about me, me, me" era has come to an end.

BigPrune 3 years, 9 months ago

I've never made that argument. The illegals are sustaining our Christian culture.

TheStonesSuck 3 years, 9 months ago

An incredibly self-righteous statement from a conservative loon? par for the course.

Evan Ridenour 3 years, 9 months ago

Will someone explain this to me.

Hypothetical.

You are an anti-abortion zealot. No matter what the situation is you believe an abortion should never occur.

But you also support eliminating funding for organizations that help people prevent the types of pregnancies that lead to abortions.

Doesn't this really make said person pro-abortion?

Isn't the most cost-effective (not to mention socially acceptable method) of preventing abortion to fund programs that decrease unwanted pregnancies?

Seriously, these nutjobs make me want to vomit.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 9 months ago

Eride, Your first sentence is a plea for a rational explanation. Your last sentence is just the opposite.
You accuse them of behaving in a manner that you then embrace. Which do you want, civil discourse of name calling rants?

deec 3 years, 9 months ago

That's because the ugly underbelly of the whole abortion issue is the belief that women who have sex deserve to be punished by becoming pregnant. Women who have abortions deserve to die for their actions, so it's of no concern if they die during illegal botched abortions. Women's sexuality is the possession of men to use for their pleasure and procreation only. It's the whole virgin-mother-slut-crone thing. Many who consider themselves pro-birth are also anti-birth control, because birth control interferes with god's plan that all sex is potential life.

verity 3 years, 9 months ago

deec, you so nailed it. Same thing I've tried to say, but you put it so much better. For many people it's not about life at all, but about punishment for having sex.

Evan Ridenour 3 years, 9 months ago

Jhawkinsf, you obviously missed the point.

parrothead8 3 years, 9 months ago

"But backers of the budget provision argue that Kansas residents who oppose abortion shouldn't be forced to have their tax dollars subsidize abortions."

That argument is leading them down a slope that will only get more and more slippery.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree. "I don't think I should be forced to have my tax dollars subsidize wars.I don't believe in killing people." "I don't think I should be forced to have my tax dollars subsidize farmers.They make enough money." "I don't think I should be forced to have my tax dollars subsidize the poor and homeless They're just too lazy to get a job." "I don't think I should be forced to have my tax dollars subsidize schools. I don't have any children. What do i get out of it?" On and on and on.....

gudpoynt 3 years, 9 months ago

I heard in a news story on the radio this morning that this will also affect Planned Parenthood operations in Wichita and Hays, two locations that do not even perform abortions.

bangaranggerg 3 years, 9 months ago

I was given abstinence only education at my high school and.. wait, maybe I was.. I can't remember, there was this smokin' hot girl that sat in front of me, pretty much just stared at her the entire class. Anyway, it didn't work.. Anywho, they'll win the case pretty easily, Indiana already went down. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/27/planned-parenthood-wins-first-victory_n_885454.html

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Amazing that they want pro-life citizens to pay for immoral counseling that advocates being sexually active outside of marriage and then they want to profit from the result of that activity which is women becoming pregnant and getting abortions at the Planned Parenthood facilities! Obviously this organization is a part of the abortion industry and they deserve no taxpayer support at all, in fact, they deserve all of our moral condemnation!

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