Archive for August, 2011

UPDATE, Sept.7:  payment of $58,000 has been made to Planned Parenthood.
Yesterday, Judge Thomas Marten ordered an immediate state payment of approximately $80,000 to Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri for Title X family planning services.

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office issued this statement this morning to Kansans for Life: “The state will comply with the Judge’s order but will continue its appeal to the Tenth Circuit United States Court of Appeals.”

It’s mind-boggling that this judge thinks he has the authority to give taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood with no legal basis.

Marten continues to pretend this is a free speech case in which Planned Parenthood was denied participation as punishment for their abortion involvement.  However, the Kansas budget provision being sued, that prioritizes full service public clinics, also resulted in a lack of a Title X contract for another ‘family-planning-only’ business unrelated to Planned Parenthood or abortion.

The judge ignores both the fundamental contractual issue and the state’s rock-solid objections:

1) There is no federal right to apply for, or receive, Title X funds from the state; thus Planned Parenthood has not been denied any right that Marten should rectify.
Only the federal government must accept applications for Title X grants, thus Planned Parenthood can only claim the right to apply directly to HHS for a grant, as other Planned Parenthood businesses have done in some states.

2) The Eleventh Amendment governing state sovereignty bars any judge from entering a mandatory injunction requiring the state to enter into contract with Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood’s suit demands that the state “honor their contracts” but there is no 2011-2012 contract with Planned Parenthood to honor/restore. This is the third time Marten has ruled on the case and ignored this foundational issue. (more…)

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Wichita's money-losing Planned Parenthood

UPDATE, Aug.30, 5:20pm: Without answering the contractual issues, Judge Marten late today ordered an immediate quarterly payment from the state to Planned Parenthood, without any bond.

“Planned Parenthood is threatening to close its Hays clinic this Friday if its federal family planning funds aren’t restored by Sept. 16,” writes The Kansas City Star.

That money is not “its” funding. The Title X taxpayer funding belongs to the state taxpayers, to be distributed by the health department (KDHE) . KDHE head, Dr. Robert Moser, said,

“Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.”

But The Star (recipient of Planned Parenthood’s 2006 media award) –as well as the presiding judge in the lawsuit, Thomas Marten– continue to fundamentally misstate the situation.

Yes, Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri annually got some of Kansas’ Title X money for its outlets in Hays and Wichita.  But so did another private business, Dodge City Family Planning Clinic.

All three no longer qualify for funding in Kansas as they are not providing preventative and primary care, in addition to reproductive-related services, as now required by state law.

The Dodge City business has not sued for “its” money, but Planned Parenthood has, employing three specialized law firms to wrongly argue that federal law forbids state discretion in selecting subcontractors— which it does not. (more…)

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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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Why has the ACLU sued Kansas’ new health insurance law that won’t cover abortions except those truly needed to prevent the mother’s death?

It’s not because the law is unconstitutional or even novel– since similar laws have been operating in other states since 1979.

But abortion zealots cannot bear that abortion is viewed as so ethically unacceptable that employers and employees don’t want their health plans to pay for them.  Read this typical rant on the Ted Turner-funded pro-abortion website, RHrealitycheck:

“The only basis for viewing the decision of a woman not to carry every fetus to term as a “moral” or “ethical dilemma” is the unscientific lie that treats fetuses like people, rather than as a subordinate part of a woman’s body. Women need the truth: fetuses are not babies and women are not incubators for lack of medical options…[women] are reduced to breeders…all-too-often trap[ped] in oppressive, and even brutal, relationships with men.

The ACLU complaint argues that men aren’t denied health care coverage, but  “thousands of Kansas women…will soon lose their existing insurance coverage for abortion …[that] allows women to get the health care they need.

What these extremists define by HEALTHCARE is shown in the lawsuit’s listing why a woman needs abortion:

  1. too young to parent;
  2. would deplete resources for her other children;
  3. interferes with education or job; (more…)

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined the dogpile of federal lawsuits against new Kansas pro-life laws today.

They filed suit to overturn and enjoin insurance mandate HB 2075, which– except in rare situations needed to prevent the mother’s death– would not pay for abortion without an individually-purchased insurance “rider.”

My right to travel freely does not force others to buy me a car, and my freedom of speech does not require others to buy me a computer, but the

ACLU claims the so-called right to abortion is constrained without other people paying for it.

This mandate prevents no abortions, just stops the forced subsidizing of abortion by enrollees in private insurance and in any future state health insurance exchanges created under Obamacare.

Yet the ACLU insists HB 2075 is another “impermissible” law “trying to make it more difficult for women to obtain abortion” which, by “[f]orcing women to pay out of pocket for abortion previously covered by their insurance plan…is no different than requiring women to pay a tax.”

This ACLU doesn’t care about the civil liberties of the unborn (particularly those diagnosed with a disability).

Their filing claims the law shows gender bias because abortion coverage is not protected the way prostate cancer coverage is.  But that’s an old –and invalid–comparison.  Though both deal with reproductive issues, the former involves one individual seeking treatment for a medical condition, while abortion always involves two separate human beings.

“Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life,”ruled the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1980 Harris v McRae case.

Abortion is NOT ordinary healthcare, (more…)

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Wichita federal Judge Thomas Marten was verbally raked over the coals for his “zeal to find a bad legislative motive,” causing him to get so many points of law just plain wrong when ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri last Monday.

In the Kansas Attorney General’s appellate brief filed Tuesday in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the state seeks to immediately halt Judge Marten’s injunctive action against a new Kansas proviso restricting Title X family planning contracts.

The appeal stresses it’s impossible to find a direct –or even indirect—conflict between federal Title X law (that constrains only HHS) and the Kansas proviso prioritizing public health clinics as subcontractors. Judge Marten

“may not like the plain meaning, and may wish the statutes said something else, but they do not… it simply cannot be that the right to obtain abortion in certain limited circumstances, or even to advocate for abortion, trumps both federal and state spending authority, as well as the State’s sovereign immunity.”

Marten’s ruling was taken apart, point by point, in a 24-page brief penned by James Armstrong of the Foulston-Siefkin law firm, hired to handle this issue by state Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Armstrong argues that Marten “added words” to the Title X federal statute and wrongly decreed (more…)

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Judges’ rulings do not blossom after carefully evaluating competing legal briefs; most judges know at the outset where they want to end up and then carefully select the legal stepping stones to get there.

This happened in the Aug 1st ruling in which Kansas district Judge Thomas Marten dismissed the state’s constitutional budget authority and used “injunctive relief” to send one third million dollars in family planning tax money to Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri.

Kansas’ new law prioritizing family planning contracts is– on the legal merits– the strongest of state battles with Planned Parenthood funding.

Since Planned Parenthood attorneys can’t win that argument, they necessarily spun their lawsuit as a free speech issue in which a ‘newly-elected radical-right wing government wages a war on women.’

Judge Marten warmed to that theme and issued a temporary injunction against a budget proviso — with language that never mentions abortion or Planned Parenthood– because Marten determined that its true “purpose was to punish Planned Parenthood for its advocacy of abortion rights.”

To support the ruling, an Associated Press piece Sunday (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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