By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life Legislative Director
The recurring theme of the relentlessly biased news coverage of Kansas’ abortion-related laws is that Gov. Sam Brownback has succeeded in forcing his personal convictions on a captive population. In fact, the new laws are the product of many years of legislative spadework that would have long ago reached fruition were it not for the repeated vetoes of former Governor Kathleen Sebelius (now President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Service).
While most attention understandably has been paid to the new pro-life laws that have already been temporarily put on hold (thanks to pro-abortion court challenges), there are other measures that went into effect July 1 without legal challenge. They include two-parent consent before minors receive an abortion and a landmark ban on abortions to unborn children capable of feeling pain—the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Nor was a legal challenge filed against a law prohibiting blanket abortion coverage by private health insurance.
Instead, lawsuits were filed where abortion businesses faced financial losses: through loss of tax funded family planning reimbursements, and forced outlays to remedy safety and sanitation deficiencies. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, not surprisingly, was in the middle of both lawsuits.
Planned Parenthood first sued the state in June for passing a 2011-2012 budget that required that Title X family planning funds must be contracted primarily with public health clinics and secondarily with qualified non-public hospitals or health centers that provide comprehensive health care–primary and preventative.
Judge Thomas Marten favored Planned Parenthood with a temporary injunction, despite evidence showing that 80% of the local health outlets’ clients were at poverty level, compared to only 15% of Planned Parenthood’s clients. The immediate impact of the decision is that funding to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri will resume until the case is resolved.
Kansas’s Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the state will appeal this action and defend their authority to make budget priorities and not be trumped by an abortion business’ claim to deserving it due to their “expertise.”
Planned Parenthood also filed the first of two separate challenges to the new abortion clinic regulation law. Outside of a ban on webcam chemical abortions, most of the law’s provisions have already been upheld in various court actions in Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and Arizona.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri knew all along that they could get their clinic license –the compliance requirements were fairly simple–and not miss one day of abortion business to boot. They were already annually licensed as an ambulatory surgical center and thus their lawsuit was theatrics, intended to gain worldwide headlines.
And sure enough the day the licensure law went into effect, Planned Parenthood did indeed obtain the new license. However this did not deter Judge Carlos Murguia from issuing a temporary injunction against the licensure law, in a lawsuit filed by the two remaining abortion businesses in Kansas–Aid for Women and Center for Women’s Health.
The assaults on Kansas’ laws, which are intended to protect both unborn children and their mothers, is unrelenting. But so, too, are pro-lifers—unrelenting in their determination to pass and defend protective laws.
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