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.
3) The judge ignores the Attorney General’s arguments that the state is harmed when it is forced to make double payments, including unrecoverable money to failing private businesses.
“The court finds no injury to the defendants [KDHE] in maintaining the prior payment schedule,” wrote Marten. The state health department has already contracted with public clinics in Wichita and Hays, and is now being ordered to prepay money to Planned Parenthood businesses operating in the red for services that cannot be guaranteed.
4) No facts back up Planned Parenthood assertions, swallowed whole by the judge, that women would not get satisfactory family planning without them.
Marten ruled, “the residents of Hays and Wichita will be best assured of continued family planning services by maintaining the status quo,”…with “an organization which has consistently provided satisfactory family planning services,” … and otherwise would “face higher costs, longer wait or travel times for appointments and have less access to services.”
The state’s attorneys argue that these claims are ungrounded, self-serving, and infer–without any shred of evidence– that the state health department has failed to award adequate contracts. Title X contracts with full service FQHCs (federally qualified health centers for low-income families) undeniably can better serve the public, as they offer:
- Family planning
- Screening for cancer & other diseases
- Preventive services including prenatal & perinatal
- Well child services
- Primary care services
- Diagnostic lab & radiology services
- Emergency medical services
- Pharmacy services
This lawsuit is not about healthcare for poor women. It’s about helping Planned Parenthood keep their floundering family planning “feeder” clinics afloat. It is these outlets, not FQHCs, that push abortion, in violation of Title X regulation.
Sec. 59.5 of Title X regulations specify “nondirective counseling on each of the [pregnancy] options, and referral upon request.“ Originally, Title X did not permit any referrals, and that was changed to allow explanation of abortion, and referral if asked for. However, state defense attorneys show that Planned Parenthood violates that prohibition because the websites of the Wichita and Hays Planned Parenthood “openly tout that those facilities will make referrals to abortion providers.”