In a not unexpected move, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri announced today it plans to close its financially failing Hays facility that no longer qualifies for family planning funds distributed by the Kansas health department.
PPKMM lost a crucial legal fight in March when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 lower court ruling.
The trial judge’s decision had forced the Kansas Department of Health and Environment
to direct approximately one million dollars over the past three years, mainly to Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri.
On May 9, PPKMM announced they would not pursue any more appeals.
The 2009 Kinzer-Huelskamp budget amendment directed the state health department to award Title X money to full-service medical clinics and hospitals best serving the indigent. That prioritization was approved consistently by the Kansas legislature but vetoed by former Governors Sebelius and Parkinson. However, it has been approved in every budget under current Gov. Sam Brownback.
While PPKMM’s Hays and Wichita “feeder” clinics did not perform abortions, they referred for them. Apparently that was enough of a reason to keep their doors open when they were seriously in the red—combined over $225,000 each year—even when they were receiving over $300,000 in Title X funding.
PPKMM sued, and won mandatory funding from 2011-2014, ordered by Wichita federal judge Thomas Marten in a 36-page decision handed down in August 2011.
Judge Marten’s opinion could have been lifted from one of the briefs filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. He accepted without quibble Planned Parenthood’s argument that (in his words) “The purpose of the statute was to single out, punish and exclude Planned Parenthood.”
Various state officials “hotly contested” Marten’s decision, as the Kansas City Star wrote at the time, and responded vigorously.
Dr. Robert Moser, who was sued in his capacity as Secretary for Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said,
“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.”
Added Attorney General Derek Schmidt in a prepared statement, “It appears that the Court declared a duly-enacted Kansas statute unconstitutional without engaging in the fact-finding one would expect before reaching such a conclusion,”
The Tenth Circuit Court of appeals overturned Judge Marten in March, ruling that PPKMM 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.
Mary Kay Culp, executive director for Kansans for Life, said, “we applaud that Kansas budget decisions are no longer being forced to prop up a for-profit abortion business.