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Posts Tagged ‘Judge Thomas Marten’

Kansas wants PP defundedOn May 9th, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) withdrew its litigation against the state of Kansas, challenging the state’s decision to send federal family planning funds to public full-service clinics.

This lawsuit was originally filed in June 2011 by PPKMM and landed in the court of U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten. It targeted a budget mandate that directs the state health department to award Federal Title X family planning contracts primarily to full service public health clinics. In this way, tax money subsidizes full-service healthcare for the indigent.

PPKMM won the first round in October 2011, but lost in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals this March. The appeals panel ruled that Planned Parenthood lacked standing to pursue its claims in federal court, and that its

claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit– about as resounding a defeat as you could get.

The defense team for the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, argued Kansas had merely prioritized Title X recipients to be full-service in order to best effectuate the HHS Notice of Grant Award to Kansas. That itemized the priorities of Title X beyond family planning to include “overall health,” flu vaccinations, and mental health and social services.  PPKMM doesn’t offer those services.

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 typically reimbursed under Title X.

Since 2009, the Kansas legislature has annually approved this prioritization of public clinics—the Kinzer/ Huelskamp amendment drafted by KFL; it had been vetoed by Governors Sebelius and Parkinson but approved in every budget under current Gov. Sam Brownback.

The Kansas budget provision on Title X does not mention abortion. Nonetheless, PPKMM objected that KDHE (the state health department) could not exclude abortion-connected clinics from Title X grants.

Marten bought into this abortion-bias argument and erroneously forced KDHE to direct approximately one million dollars over the past three years, mainly to Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri. A small portion of that funding went to the now-defunct Dodge City Family Planning Clinic, which Marten had added to the initial complainants.

Kansas has again successfully defeated litigation from abortion interests—our second win, with 2 laws still under challenge.

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pp money (2)A three-member panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals today overturned a Kansas federal district court ruling that Planned Parenthood was unfairly disfavored and penalized by a 2011 funding authorization. The case was sent back to Judge J. Thomas Marten, who had remarked that he expected to be overruled in this matter.

The case stems from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri on behalf of their Kansas abortion-referral facilities in Wichita and Hays. Both clinics became ineligible to receive Title X federal family planning funding when the state enacted an annually-renewed proviso that such money go to full-service public health clinics and hospitals.

Planned Parenthood claimed they would be “irreparably damaged” without “its” Title X funding. However, Dr. Robert Moser, head of the state health department that selects recipient facilities, described Title X funds as belonging to the state taxpayers, remarking that, “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.”

The appeals panel ruled that

Planned Parenthood lacked standing to pursue its claims in federal court, and that its claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit.

Planned Parenthood had argued that they were losing out on money due to impermissible “anti-abortion” animosity from the legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback. But the Kansas proviso doesn’t mention anything about providing or supporting abortion; it merely prioritizes that Title X grants go to local health department clinics.

Planned Parenthood also claimed that the state could not impose additional requirements for facilities to obtain Title X funding–in this case, maximizing use of a federal grant program to support health care for the poor. Court documents revealed that women at or below poverty level comprised merely 15% of Planned Parenthood’s Kansas clients, while

similarly economically disadvantaged women comprised 78% of those served by the health department in Wichita, which would have received the Title X grants.

Judge Marten ruled in August 2011 that the Kansas health department must continue to fund two Planned Parenthood businesses while litigation continued. In October of 2011, he ordered additional funding to another family planning clinic in western Kansas, which closed 14 months later. To date, at least $400,000 has been paid out to those three clinics by Marten’s order.

In the last three years, abortion advocates and clinics have sued four Kansas pro-life measures:

  1. Kansas won the first lawsuit, challenging a 2011 law that excludes elective abortion from private health insurance coverage without a “rider.”
  2. Kansas has won the appeal (today) that Planned Parenthood had no standing to sue in federal court for perceived discrimination in Title X eligibility.
  3. An abortion-friendly state judge has stalled litigation on the 2011 pro-life abortion clinic licensure law, under injunction.
  4. Abortion interests failed to block the comprehensive 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act with the exception of two tiny provisions which are being addressed.

Kansas pro-life legislation is well-drafted and being defended by talented attorneys working for the state Attorney General.

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Abortion supporters continue their brazen complaints that Kansas has already spent nearly $480,000 in legal fees defending 3 pro-life laws enacted in 2011.

But it’s those very abortion supporters that are forcing that drain in state resources, for profit and ideological motives, plain and simple.

Let’s look at the three lawsuits and examine what is really at stake.

1. The family planning funding prioritization is a new measure, attempted this year in differing forms by a half dozen states, with Kansas having arguably the strongest legal ground.  Wichita Judge Thomas Marten placed the law on hold by injunction and ordered supplemental money sent to the three businesses that did not meet the new criteria. The Kansas Attorney General has appealed those actions to the 10th Circuit appellate court, and a ruling on the merits of the appeal is expected at any time.

This lawsuit was filed because financially-failing Planned Parenthood branches in Wichita and Hays, and one independent business in Dodge City, were not going to get nearly $375,000 in Title X state subsidies under the new law. No services formerly provided to Kansas women were being eliminated.  In fact, the only change was that the state would only contract for reimbursements with public clinics serving the poor, and in fact, would provide BETTER access to a full range of health care.

This lawsuit is little better than extortion, backed implicitly by the pro-abortion Obama administration and the federal agency that controls Title X money–HHS, headed by former Kansas governor, Kathleen Sebelius.

2. The law banning coverage of elective abortion in private insurance plans without a separately purchased rider, is not new.  It survived past court challenges and has operated in other states, like Missouri, for decades. Part of eastern Kansas has been covered this way by Blue Cross during that time! This law is operating without an injunction, but is headed for trial next year.

This law was sued by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) ostensibly on behalf of unspecified women who can’t afford to pay for their own abortions.  But the suit is really a steppingstone to changing the “privacy” basis that undergirds the so-called legal right to abortion. The ACLU is still searching for courts willing to rule abortion is healthcare that must be paid for under the constitutional guarantee of “equal protection.”

Although abortion lawyers have pressed this “gender equality” argument unsuccessfully for decades, they are back at it again, at OUR taxpayer expense.

3. The third lawsuit (actually a series of 3 suits) has blocked the new law instituting state licensure, oversight and inspection of abortion businesses sought by Kansans since 2002. Currently there are only 3 abortion sites in Kansas, all in the Kansas City area, although there are threats to open a new one in Wichita this summer.

After a public fuss (and a suit they filed and then dropped) the Overland Park Planned Parenthood met the new minimum standards for licensure. The other two clinics didn’t, and sued the preliminary agency regulations from KDHE, while securing an injunction. So the law is not currently in effect.

Now get this: the pro-abortion voices complaining loudly about legal fees, themselves wasted a bundle when they filed suit in federal court in July, and then switched their game plan to file suit in state court in November. So last week, lawyers for the 2 clinics formally dropped the first lawsuit and are itemizing months of legal expenses– which will get paid by state taxpayers– if the abortion team prevails in the newer suit.

Next post: the real reason the abortion clinics’ lawyers changed from federal court to state court.

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Shortly after Tuesday’s 45-minute hearing, federal district Judge Thomas Marten once again issued a written ruling stomping on Kansas’ state sovereignty.

He allowed the ACLU-represented Dodge City Family Planning (DCFP) clinic to join Planned Parenthood in halting the new Kansas family planning proviso. This marks the third failing clinic Marten has funded through an injunctive action.

The state of Kansas has already appealed his earlier injunction for Planned Parenthood to the 10th Circuit court of appeals and action there is not anticipated for at least 6 weeks.

DCFP had asked for $40,000 plus attorney fees. Absent any 10th Circuit action, Marten ordered the state to immediately pay DCFP an unspecified amount with another ‘quarterly payment’ in six weeks.

Marten relies heavily on one DCFP-employee affidavit that they alone could provide family planning for hundreds of low-income, minority women in Dodge City. However, in an Oct.13 rebuttal brief, the state presented facts that Ford County (home to DCFP) continues “to have access to family planning services through

  1. private providers,
  2. a Federally Qualified Health Center (“FQHC”), the over-$2-million-dollar-funded United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries in Dodge City, which chose not to apply to be a Title X delegate agency because of the lawsuit,and
  3. nearby delegate agencies, totaling 16 nearby clinics.”

The defense added,” the State of Kansas will continue to ensure the availability of, and access to, a wider variety of critical medical services to those Kansans most in need. In essence, the only entity that would “win” from injunctive relief would be DCFP, not the low income Kansans for whom Title X was enacted.”

Marten insists (more…)

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On Oct. 11, Judge Thomas Marten allowed the 2-person Dodge City Family Planning (DCFP) to piggyback onto Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against Kansas’ Title X new eligibility requirements.

Marten agreed DCFP had a claim to “irreparable harm” under the state proviso that Marten has repeatedly declared violates federal language. The failing southwestern Kansas clinic wants $40,000 from state coffers as Marten has already forced the state to send $58,000 to Planned Parenthood.

But after receiving the State’s Oct.13 rebuttal that enumerates the real facts about DCFP, Marten scheduled a Tues. Oct.18 hearing on the matter.  He may be reconsidering his hasty addition of the clinic to the current injunction.

Marten is a federal judge appointed for life; he can only be removed by Congress and it hasn’t impeached any federal judge in many decades. But one thing judges don’t like to do is rack up appellate court reversals –

especially the kind of rebuke Marten was dished in 2006 when his preliminary injunction favoring abortion clinics was overturned.

Marten had issued an injunction to stop Attorney General Phill Kline’s official interpretation that the law required (more…)

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Three politically-charged events are actually deeply interlocked: unjustified injunctions from Judge Thomas Marten, a state Supreme Court-supervised panel ruling against Phill Kline, and the defense lawyer for Kris Neuhaus showing abortion files without permission.

The state of Kansas is currently appealing a Title X injunctive order for Planned Parenthood from Judge Marten, which echoes a situation seven years ago when he issued an abortion-helping preliminary injunction that was  overturned on appeal. Then Marten reinstated the injunction permanently!

In that case, abortion clinics and counselors had sued then-Attorney General Phill Kline for issuing an opinion that clinics needed to report all pregnant minors to law enforcement agencies.  Under child protective law, all physicians, counselors & teachers were required to report children injured (now the word is “harmed”) by physical, mental, or emotional abuse or neglect, or sexual abuse.”

Kline was aiming at prosecuting unreported statutory rape by adult predators, not ‘Romeo-Juliet’ pregnancy situation. For example during 2002-2003, 168 underage pregnant girls were aborted in Kansas but abortion clinics only reported 2!

Marten ruled that Kline’s opinion threatened the “informational privacy rights” of minors and that such was an ‘irreparable harm’ that trumped state child rape law.

Now we come to the second entangled matter: Thursday’s 3-person panel issuance that Kline’s professional actions violated attorney standards.

Notably, Kline is being punished by abortion defenders-in-high-places for daring to prosecute the abortion industry. The second charge of the panel is Kline’s supposedly deficient legal advice about abuse reporting to a grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood. In actuality, pro-abortion attorneys tried to confuse lay people on the jury about the Marten injunctions in relation to subpoenas for clinic records.

Invading abortion privacy/secrecy has been the heart of Kline’s supposed “crime” as formulated by the abortion cartel, former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and “third wave” feminist–and state Supreme Court Justice– Carol Beier.  It is the Democrat appointees who now dominate the State Supreme Court, in control of the ethics action against Kline. Language in the ethics charges come straight out of abortion attorney filings!

Medical privacy –not child safety–was the war cry used to dump Kline, after the courts had successfully tied up his prosecution of illegal late-term abortion until days before his 2006 re-election vote. And not one identity of an abortion patient has EVER been made public from Kline’s investigations or during file-handling by citizen-petitioned grand juries.

This is where the third matter of Neuhaus becomes entwined.  Eleven of the very abortion records ferreted out by Kline–at the expense of his political career–are being used by the state Board of Healing Arts i (more…)

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Judge Marten

Judge Marten, upholds clinics, not state law

Today, federal Judge Thomas Marten unsurprisingly acquiesced to ACLU’s petition that the Dodge City Family Planning (DCFP) clinic join the Planned Parenthood lawsuit over Title X money distributed by the Kansas state health department.

The clinic wants immediate reinstatement of their prior Title X state contract for nearly $40,000 (plus attorney fees), and wants the state proviso declared void as violating the Supremacy Clause.

Marten has already awarded $58,000 to Planned Parenthood without a state contract and the state is appealing his rulings to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Marten’s ruling today bristled at the state’s allegation that DCFP was ‘judge-shopping’, that is, piggy-backing onto a case where the judge is already favorably directing funding to clinics.

There’s no question this is an activist judge of whom the State legal team accuses of “emasculating” state sovereignty and repeatedly ruling in error about the legitimacy of the state funding proviso.

Marten defended the addition of the financially-failing DCFP clinic because “it was stripped of Title X funding essentially as collateral of the Kinzer Amendment’s redefinition of eligibility standards.…[and] asserts a Supremacy Clause claim similar to that advanced by plaintiff Planned Parenthood.” (more…)

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