By Kathy Ostrowski,Legislative Director, Kansans for Life
Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri has withdrawn its challenge in federal court to a Kansas law requiring that its website homepage contain a live link to the Kansas Health Department “informed consent” information.
This concession happened at the eleventh hour, as a hearing was scheduled Monday in the court of Judge Kathryn Vratil. PPKMM technically has until Monday to refile, which is utterly unlikely.
PPKMM had refused to comply with the weblink law even after all other Kansas abortion clinics had complied and after a separate challenge from the Hodes & Nauser abortion clinic collapsed in state district court this spring.
This is the fourth win for the legal team under Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in defending sound pro-life laws promoted by Kansans for Life.
Kansas has required abortion clinics to provide access to state materials on prenatal development, abortion information and assistance for unplanned pregnancies since 1997. The required weblink at issue reads:
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment maintains a website containing information about the development of the unborn child, as well as video of sonogram images of the unborn child at various stages of development, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website can be accessed here [womansrighttoknow.org]
The state’s defense was rock solid against PPKMM’s argument that the weblink was:
1. a free speech infringement of PPKMM’s preferred narrative about pregnancy, and
2. didn’t belong on the homepage where other non-abortion clients might see it.
The state rebutted that the required link was a form of consumer protection and that the state had a right to alert women before they committed to abortion. From the state’s most recent filing (emphasis added)
“In the 1980s and 1990s, public access to the Internet was extremely limited. Few businesses or public institutions had websites. …In the face of these changes in technology and access, and in order to more effectively reach women as they are contemplating the weighty decision of whether to undergo an abortion, the Kansas Legislature enacted a law in 2013…that when a company is in the business of performing abortions and that company maintains a website, it must include a link on its homepage.”