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.
The Kansas health department has already made arrangements for Title X service providers in Hays and Wichita, and is struggling to understand Marten’s order on Aug. 1, (reissued Aug. 17) to fund Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood did not have a current state contract with Kansas to be restored by Marten, and a judge hasn’t the authority to create contracts between the state and private business.
Attorneys for the state have asked, “is the Court requiring the parties to enter into a contract whereby the terms and conditions are set by the Court… by some past contract…some new, undrafted contract …[or merely] to pay Plaintiff for services rendered?”
While litigation continues, the state has offered to temporarily reimburse Planned Parenthood on a monthly basis, as long as a bond was posted, because
this “double-paying” for services in Wichita and Hays harms the state as the money “will be likely unrecoverable …based upon [Planned Parenthood’s] claims of deficit operations and risk of business failure.”
Planned Parenthood told the court that both the Hays and Wichita outlets were already operating at a $264,000 (corrected) annual loss — even with last year’s Title X funding! Thus, Planned Parenthood is demanding that the state put in one-third million dollars to help float two losing businesses!
Kansas’ legal team has objected that Marten’s order to prevent “irreparable harm” to Planned Parenthood is unfounded since the $330,000 sought (in quarterly pre-payments) would be about 5.5% of parent company Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri total revenue: $5.6 million in 2009 (last reported year) with $1.9 million in donations.
Aside from threatening to close the Hays outlet, Planned Parenthood says it will be ending its sliding-scale fees at the Wichita outlet.
However, state defense attorneys point out that while Planned Parenthood consistently argues their business is integral to poor women, only 15% of its Title X clients are at or below poverty level –contrasted with the new Wichita provider, the Sedgwick County health clinic, with 78% of clients at, or below, poverty level.