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.
The state health department’s response to a KFL request today was, “Our Aug. 1 statement remains in effect– there have been no determinations regarding Title X funding for Planned Parenthood, pending procedures on the appeal by the Attorney General’s Office.”
Jeff Wagaman, spokesman for Attorney General Derek Schmidt, told KFL the next step is to appeal Marten’s new ruling to the circuit court.
PPKMM first sued the state in June for passing a 2011-2012 budget proviso that required that Kansas Title X family planning funds must be contracted primarily with public health clinics and secondarily with private hospitals and clinics, and that all must provide comprehensive health care services.
Judge Marten’s new ruling says the law wrongly “guarantees failure for a disfavored minority of applicants” and thus keeping his injunction (that halts the new law) is good for the state. He has sided with PPKMM that their ‘free speech” rights (and those of women) are being abused due to animus against abortion by the predominantly pro-life Kansas legislature.
He also supports PPKMM’s claim that their inability to meet newly passed state requirements will harm poor women. However, the state’s appeal shows that
- PPKMM did NOT have any state family planning contract this year to be restored by Marten, and a judge hasn’t the authority to create contracts between the state and private business;
- there has been no evidence behind the “naked allegation” that women would be harmed without PPKMM services;
- women at, or below, poverty level income comprised only 15% of PPKMM clients but comprised 78% of women served by the Sedgwick health department in Wichita with a tentative contract for Title X.
PPKMM– a private business– says they need the one-third million Title X dollars they were accustomed to taking under the Sebelius/Parkinson administrations and they are using the court system to overturn duly passed laws.