By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life Legislative Director
Today was the first hearing on Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s lawsuit challenging whether the state of Kansas can determine how to direct federal family planning dollars. Round One went to PPFA.
Planned Parenthood is challenging a portion of the 2012 Kansas state budget that directs that family planning services financed in any way under “Title X” federal rules 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.
Siding for now with PPFA U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten granted Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s request for a temporary injunction blocking the law.
It would have been a great surprise if Judge Marten had denied Planned Parenthood anything. It is no exaggeration to say there has been a national press campaign that portrays women’s health as being in jeopardy without Planned Parenthood. Without an obviously clear precedent, and the drumbeat of negative national attention, Judge Marten was being overly cautious.
But the state had made a strong case for its right to make the decision where the money should go first and that its right to preferentially support health care outlets best served the entire local community. Kansas has approximately 80 public health clinics as well as other full service health outlets that do not perform abortions but can provide the services typically reimbursed under Title X.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri was especially eager to have the law blocked because money had already been shifted to the Sedgwick County health department to expand its family planning services. In addition, some of the $331,000 that would otherwise go to Planned Parenthood will go to health clinics in Ellis County.
We are hopeful that the merits of the state’s case will be upheld, and that Planned Parenthood does not get undeserved preferential treatment.
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