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Archive for the ‘Court rulings’ Category

abortion not health care (2) The Associated Press reported late Friday that the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has withdrawn their failing lawsuit against a 2011 Kansas law which bars private health care insurance from covering elective abortions. The ACLU cannot file these claims again or appeal the earlier court rulings.

Under the law– like the court-approved law operating in Missouri and (de facto) in eastern Kansas for over two decades– abortions other than to save the mother’s life would not be covered unless individuals had separately  purchased “riders”. The law was sought as a “conscience” protection by

  1. employers who did not want to be forced to offer policies with abortion coverage, and
  2. employees who objected to having their health care dollars pooled into plans that paid out for abortions.

The plaintiffs were women (primarily two former Kansas abortion lobbyists) claiming they lost their abortion coverage under the new law and that it showed gender discrimination.  It was rough going for the ACLU side from the start: they did not merit an injunction, a variety of their legal claims were advanced and then scrapped, and they were told more than once that their claims “lacked evidence.”

On Jan. 7, 2013, federal Judge Julie Robinson soundly rejected the ACLU motion for a bench ruling instead of a trial, responding that, as a matter of law, the ACLU failed to provide any evidence that the Legislature’s predominant motivation in passing the law was to make it more difficult to get abortions.

Judge Robinson wrote, “Whether one agrees or disagrees with [the State's] asserted cost and/or “freedom of conscience” rationale, there is nothing in the record to show that this was not the legislature’s purpose in adopting the law. Moreover, the claimed interests are rational ones.”

Abortion supporters –who sued three of Kansas’ 2011 pro-life measures– are fond of complaining that too much money has been spent by the state on defense litigation. They argue that these pro-life laws were only sued because they are “wrong,” but in this case, the court has recognized that it was the ACLU wasting taxpayer money.

Abortion is always the taking of an innocent human life; and the upholding of  this law, which stops society from “normalizing” and mainstreaming abortion as health care, is a victory.

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A.G. Schmidt

Kansas pro-lifers got good news from a federal court May 18th: two Kansas city-area abortion clinics will have to pay their own attorney fees of over $220 thousand dollars without Kansas’ taxpayer reimbursement. Judge Carlos Marguia ruled the clinics had not “prevailed on the merits,” and thus did not qualify for state reimbursement.

Attorneys from the Center for Women’s Health (CWH) and Aid for Women (AFW) had been petitioning for state payment of their attorney fees incurred when the clinics filed to halt both the new state abortion facility licensure law and the provisional clinic regulations written by the Kansas health department (KDHE).

The clinics had sought a permanent injunction in a rushed proceeding July 1, 2011 in front of federal Judge Murguia, claiming irreparable harm would ensue if the law went into effect that day. Judge Murguia awarded only a temporary injunction, largely in order to “maintain the status quo” while issues moved forward.

In November 2011, KDHE issued permanent abortion facility regulations, using a slightly modified version of the original set. Both clinics dropped the federal lawsuit, but the injunction was retained and the lawsuit was refiled in state court by only one clinic CWH (the business of abortionists Herb Hodes and Traci Nauser).

The office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt had filed motions in opposition to paying all the abortion attorneys involved, arguing they were not entitled because such reimbursement is available for “claimants who had prevailed on the merits” in civil rights cases.  [Yes, this is a civil rights case because (hold your groans) one of the claims is that clinic regulation violates a woman’s civil right to obtain an abortion.]

Beyond ineligibility for reimbursement, the Attorney General claimed national and local abortion attorneys had inflated billable hours and wage rates to make a “windfall” off of Kansas taxpayers.  The irony is evident: abortion advocates have been complaining that the defense of pro-life laws is a wasteful depletion of the treasury, and then their own attorneys try to rip-off that same treasury!

Thankfully, that won’t happen at this juncture, due to the litigators working for the AG office.

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Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri is without a Title X contract for services in Kansas this year because it does not provide primary and preventative care; yet it wants the state to rescue its failing Kansas clinics to the tune of an immediate $80 thousand dollars– all before any services are rendered.

In today’s federal court filing, Planned Parenthood demands Kansas pay a financial penalty, including a  fine of $1000 “for each day that the contempt continues” for “causing Planned Parenthood to suffer considerable ongoing harm.”

Planned Parenthood claims to be “facing the imminent closure of its health center in Hays, Kansas…and it is currently operating at an enormous monthly loss in both Hays and Wichita simply to keep its health centers open.”

Earlier filings point out Planned Parenthood lost approximately $264,000 (corrected) on both clinics last year, which is why they are so desperate to get Title X money of approx $330,000 .

Planned Parenthood is demanding quarterly pre-payment the way they were formerly funded and rebuffing temporary monthly payment-after-services, as offered in a formal compromise offered by the state last Friday. The state

  • had asked for a clarification of funding ordered to Planned Parenthood by Judge Thomas Marten on Aug.1, and re-ordered Aug. 17;
  • offered partial funding that would be refunded when the state wins the lawsuit;  and
  • requires that Planned Parenthood post a bond.

Planned Parenthood attorneys argue the request for bond is late and unnecessary, but since their businesses are in the red, it seems a wise requirement.  After all, it is the state ‘s public health department which would suffer the loss if Planned Parenthood defaults.

With an activist judge leading the charge, and the resources of three high-powered law firms, Planned Parenthood continues to demand taxpayer’s money that the business is not legally qualified to receive.

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Activist Judge backs PPKMM

Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) insists that they will be irreparably harmed without Kansas’ Title X contracts and Federal Judge Thomas Marten is backing them up.

The state of Kansas, in an Aug. 9 appeal brief, labels that claim of harm as “rank speculation” not deserving emergency relief from the court.

The state’s appeal asked Judge Marten to take back his injunction while the matter is in litigation, but– no surprise here– he denied the appeal in a ruling Wednesday.

The clock is ticking in this high-stakes matter because the federal HHS agency ordinarily requires all Title X family planning contracts to be finalized by Aug. 31. Late today, the Associated Press was reporting PPKMM wants to force the state of Kansas to turn over federal funds  immediately. (more…)

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Clinton appointee Judge Marten

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has announced his office will appeal today’s ruling by U.S. Judge J.Thomas Marten, ordering a temporary injunction that helps Planned Parenthood regain access to Title X tax funding.

Dr. Robert Moser, who was also sued in his capacity as Secretary for Kansas Department of Health and Environment, commented:

Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood. Other providers are already offering a fuller spectrum of health care for Kansas patients. This highly unusual ruling implies a private organization has a right to taxpayer subsidy. The people of Kansas disagree.”

Moser references the state budget provision passed this year that prioritizes recipients of Title X federal reimbursements to be full service public health clinics and hospitals. When such health providers can count on receiving a certain dollar amount, it helps that community hire a general clinician who can also deliver health services for infants, youth and seniors.

Kansas has approximately 80 public health clinics as well as many other full service health outlets that can provide the elementary examinations, contraceptives and disease testing (more…)

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Gov. Sebelius' vetoes kept open this abortion clinic where instruments were not sterilized, instead left open, atop a dishwasher, near trash & toilet

Pro-life leader Rep. Lance Kinzer (R-Olathe) has confirmed to the media that in 2011, there would be a priority in revisiting abortion laws that had been vetoed over the past 8 years.  Some of those measures included provisions to:

  • insure sanitary abortion sites with trained personnel;
  • close administrative loopholes that allow abortionists to file false records;
  • correct the clinic admission procedure (for minors) that predators can manipulate.

Already the Kansas City Star is wording its reports to raise the ire of Kansas’ abortion supporters. Their Saturday legislative preview included the warning that with “an ally in the governor’s office, expect proposals to curtail abortion rights.”   (more…)

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KFL-PAC opposes Justice Beier

Kansans for Life deplores the preferential treatment of the abortion industry in the Sebelius-loaded state supreme court, which:

  • undermined citizen-petitioned grand juries conducted against abortionists;
  • invented rules to block acquisition of abortion records–but not other sensitive medical files;
  • silenced a judge they appointed to watch over abortion records, after he discovered clinic forgery.

Thus, the Kansans for Life political action committee (KFL-PAC)  proposed a ‘Fire Beier’ campaign, opposing the retention of the 4 state supreme court justices, especially Carol Beier.

The KFL-PAC also believes that the public will be better served by electing judges in general.

To that end, the 10th District U.S. Circuit Court ruled in 2006 that Kansas ethics rules that prohibit judicial candidates from answering pre-election questionnaires violate the judges’ fundamental free speech rights.

Some argue that (more…)

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Kathy Mitchell, part of patent-awarded 'adult' stem cell team

newly-awarded U.S. patent, with fantastic ramifications for cures and treatments of conditions including Parkinson’s Disease, is further evidence of the importance of the recent lawsuit seeking to halt federal grants for embryonic research.

After seven years, Kansas State University’s Research Foundation has obtained proprietary rights for obtaining, culturing and banking “matrix” stem cells from the cushioning material (‘Wharton’s jelly’) inside umbilical cords, both human and animal.

Some of the purposes for these K-State-patented stem cells will be repairing nerve damage, cardiac muscle, and blood vessels.

Grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH) helped the researchers achieve this breakthough in accessing a plentiful source of reparative stem cells that do not involve the destruction of embryos. (more…)

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Kansas has the most elitist State Supreme Court justice selection process (map by KansasWatchdog)

Elections truly have consequences, but Kansas attorneys have the most unrestricted power of any state in the union to hand-select state Supreme Court justices. (see details and comparisons to other states at Kansas Watchdog)

The Kansas Supreme Court is composed of 7 justices: 2 appointed by Gov. Bill Graves, 4 by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and, as of this week, in the closing months of his term, abortion-supporting Gov. Mark Parkinson will pick a replacement for recently deceased Chief Justice Robert Davis (an appointee of pro-life Gov. Joan Finney).

Theoretically, these justices pledge to be neutral and uphold the state Constitution.  But consider the actual actions of a Sebelius-majority Court:

  • the Court’s repeated pro-abortion-industry interventions,
  • Justice Beier’s rant and insistence on sanctions against AG Phill Kline (decried by Davis and then-chief Justice MacFarland) in the 2005 Alpha “clinic files” decision,  and
  • the current 15-month delay on the Planned Parenthood criminal case.

KFL has been supportive of changing the way (more…)

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On Thursday, New Mexico was stopped from wrongly treating advocacy groups as political entities.  The ruling for the case of New Mexico Youth Organized v. Herrera came from the 10th Circuit Court, whose geographical jurisdiction includes Kansas.

Two New Mexico groups sought relief when the state Attorney General acted on complaints about their informational mailings (“issue advocacy”) as being “express advocacy” or “electioneering”  for candidates.  The latter activities require state registration, fees and reporting burdens.  The court ruled:

New Mexico’s attempt to classify a group as a “political committee,” based upon the fact that it spends at least $500 a year for political purposes, is not constitutionally permissible.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly admonished that only organizations that have “the major purpose” of electing or defeating a candidate may be forced to register as political organizations.

As the Court has explained, governmental registration and reporting  burdens are so onerous that many organizations, rather than complying with them, will just forego their political speech.  This is at odds with the Supreme Court’s repeated holdings that political speech is at the very core of what the First Amendment protects.

“This is another victory for free speech,” said James Bopp, Jr., general counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech, which had provided an amicus brief (a “friend-of -the-court” opinion) for the plaintiffs.   The Tenth Circuit  now joins many courts that have recognized that a legislated spending threshold cannot automatically convert organizations into political committees.

In the New Mexico cases, neither group was structured  for electioneering and the portion of their budget spent on mailers with legislative information was 1/2% for one group and and 7% for the other group.

The climate for muzzling politically incorrect speech has spawned the current federal anti-constitutional DISCLOSE act and several state attempts that were narrowly defeated by pro-life Kansas Senators this past spring.   That’s why this 10th Circuit Court ruling is so welcome for Kansas.

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