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Archive for Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kansas argues order on Planned Parenthood funding

October 4, 2011, 3:57 p.m. Updated October 4, 2011, 10:57 p.m.

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— A federal judge’s order blocking a Kansas law that effectively strips Planned Parenthood of family planning funds “emasculates” the state’s autonomy and sovereignty rights and should be overturned, the state argued Tuesday.

The argument was made in a 144-page filing asking the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to set aside a temporary injunction ordering Kansas to continue federal funding to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri until the case is resolved.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new Kansas law that required the state to allocate federal family planning dollars first to public health departments and hospitals, leaving no money for smaller clinics that rely on thae funding. No federal money goes to pay for abortions. The Title X money targets low-income individuals seeking birth control, cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Planned Parenthood contended in its lawsuit that the law violates the First Amendment because it was passed to punish Planned Parenthood for its advocacy of abortion rights, citing comments by the governor and the legislator who authored it urging its passage so as to defund Planned Parenthood. Their lawsuit also asserted that the law violates the Supremacy Clause because states cannot impose additional requirements for entities to qualify for federal programs.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten agreed, finding the group would likely prevail in its lawsuit and ordering the state to continue its funding.

Kansas countered in its filing Tuesday that Marten’s conclusions about the merits of Planned Parenthood’s claims are incorrect, contending the statute does not discriminate based on any protected belief.

The state also suggested the judge failed to appropriately weigh the legal factors needed to award a mandatory injunction. It calls the judge’s order for the state to make payments to Planned Parenthood an “affront” to Kansas’ sovereign immunity, which is protected by the Eleventh Amendment.

“The District Court’s order emasculates the state of Kansas’ autonomy and sovereignty rights that are embodied in the Eleventh Amendment,” attorneys for the state wrote.

Lee Thompson, an attorney representing Planned Parenthood, declined to comment on the state’s filing, saying in an email that attorneys have not had a chance to review it yet and would respond later in their own briefing to the appeals court.

The state noted in its motion that Kansas contracts with roughly 55 agencies to perform family planning services. All but two — Planned Parenthood and the Dodge City Family Planning Clinic — were public health agencies. The Dodge City clinic, which also lost Title X funds after the Kansas law was passed, asked last week to join the Planned Parenthood lawsuit.

Kansas told the appeals court that Congress passed Title X of the Public Health Services Act to promote delivery of family planning services to low income patients because of the correlation between lack of access to contraception services and the incidence of poverty. It argued the state law prioritizes those entities the state believes will best meet a wide array of medical needs for low income patients — such as public health agencies and hospitals — instead of specialty clinics.

“Kansas is no different than many states: seeking to do more with less,” the state wrote. “The long-held and common-sense approach the State has charted is to provide funding first to its public facilities that provide a wide array of medical services to low-income citizens.”

As for Planned Parenthood’s First Amendment claims, the state countered that the court erred by relying on the statements of a handful of lawmakers as an accurate reflection of the entire legislative body’s intent. It cited case law that the motives of quoted lawmakers are irrelevant where the statute is neutral on its face.

“Absent evidence that the entire Kansas Legislature acted for a discriminatory purpose, these cases should have precluded the District Court from impugning every Kansas legislator with discriminatory motives based solely upon the stray comments of a few lawmakers,” the state wrote.

Comments

JayhawkFan1985 3 years, 2 months ago

The radical right wing agenda led by the Koch Industries and their cronies at the Kansas Policy Institute are engaging in a "Cultural Revolution" in this state designed to make all Kansans take a "Great Leap Backward." They are doing the same thing that the Taliban did in Afganistan. In their worldview, women are chattel and as property have no "rights" and even if they did, the Koch brothers postulate that their tax dollars should pay for governmental services they disagree with. Of course, they're ok with gutting state government so they will be free to rape the environment and mistreat their workers.

tjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

It always amazes me when people like you discuss "rights". What about the "rights" of the unborn. I applaud our governor for standing for the "rights" of the unborn. If progress equates to murder of the unborn, then I am all in favor of a "Great Leap Backward". It is about time we exposed Planned Parenthood for what it truly is.

Armored_One 3 years, 2 months ago

What legal rights do the "unborn" have?

How are those rights enforced?

Is there an advocate that is capable of acting on the behalf of the "unborn"?

Saying that there are legal rights is one thing. Somehow, I doubt that there are any laws that are nearly as encompassing as you seem to think that they are.

I say that if abortion is outlawed, there should be a manditory tax law passed to pay for the increased cost of abandoned children and those that are forced into the "system", so to speak. If you are willing to throw away the legal right of an adult to seek medical care in whatever terms they wish out the window, then you can pay for the consequences as well.

Otherwise, I can suggest a warm yet dark place to store your opinion, since the environment wouldn't change, at least in terms of the odor.

Actually, better yet, I want to be present when you look your mother, sister and/or wife in the eye and tell her that she is no longer entitled to make decisions concerning their own bodies. That will just be funny to watch.

JayhawkFan1985 3 years, 2 months ago

My personal wish is that nobody would ever choose to have an abortion. For us to ever have a chance to reach that ideal (and we never will) those that oppose abortion need to start supporting sex education in public schools and make birth control more readily available. I also wish that kids would refrain from premarital sex, but that is a fantasy that also will never come to be. Finally, those that oppose abortion need to be the first people calling for the government to provide an array of social services which ironically is that last thing that most rightwingers do. I guess morality only takes you as far as your 1040 form.

I have long wondered why the "right to life" crowd tends to also support the death penalty. If all human life is sacred, then why are the lives of people that Jesus ministered to not valued? The bible makes no mention whatsoever about abortion, but I do believe that Jesus was sentenced to death despite being innocent. Maybe we should learn from that.

Lartist5 3 years, 2 months ago

expose them for what? Allowing people to "plan parenthood"? most (97%) of what they do nationally is provide birth control and women's health screenings. Removing funding from these places has always shown a rise in the number of unwanted and under cared for pregnancies and in turn a rise in abortions, premature births, and infant and mother deaths, this kind of linking of abortion with all reproductive services in this country (and more so in this state) is why the US, the worlds richest and most powerful country, ranks 15th in the world in infant mortality. If you care about the unborn as you claim, you wold want to increase funding for PP. But that doesn't fit with the narrow, ill-informed right leaning agenda and voter base does it?

JayhawkFan1985 3 years, 2 months ago

I meant to say "should NOT pay" in my previous post...

mloburgio 3 years, 2 months ago

Kansas Legislator Pensions Inflated More Than Ten Fold A May KansasReporter.org story said that Kansas legislators get credit for working 372 days a year.

Although Kansas legislators work part time and are paid only during the 90 legislative session and days their committees meet outside that window, lawmakers who choose to join the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) pay their contributions into the system as if they worked every single calendar day of the year plus one more week

Legislators are the only classification of Kansas public employee that can draw down benefits based on a annualized salary.

Kansas Legislator example

Salary: $7,979

Inflation #1: Based on 372 day year = $32,982

Inglation #2: Include $123 per diem (also for 372 days) = $45,756

Inflation #3: Include payments for expenses while not in session = $7,083

Total salary for pension calculation: $83,216

Government employees enrolled in KPERS and hired before July 1, 2009, make a 4 percent employee contribution. State employees hired after that date contribute 6 percent.

Legislators’ make the same percentage contribution but it is based on their annualized total pay and expenses of $83,216. The contribution is 42 or 65 percent of their actual $7,979 annual base pay only.

KPERS is currently reported to have an $8.3 billion gap between what’s been promised to the 260,000 active, inactive and retired state workers through 2033 and the projected resources it will have to pay those benefits. A special commission has been created to find ways to close the gap.

The $8.3 billion gap is expected to more than double under new pension reporting rules likely to take effect by 2014. http://kansas.watchdog.org/7604/kansas-legislator-pensions-inflated-more-than-ten-fold/

Kyle Chandler 3 years, 2 months ago

Im waiting for the "Im sick of my , oh i get a refund check, tax dollars used for abortions dadgummit" people this morning. Where are you guys. So entertaining.

Armored_One 3 years, 2 months ago

But it is so hard to hold a protest sign and call someone a baby killer and type on an iPhone. Lordy be, but you sure do what a lot from that crowd, don't you?

Lartist5 3 years, 2 months ago

does anyone else find it funny that the state government feels "emasculated" over a reproductive health issue?

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