On May 9th, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) withdrew its litigation against the state of Kansas, challenging the state’s decision to send federal family planning funds to public full-service clinics.
This lawsuit was originally filed in June 2011 by PPKMM and landed in the court of U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten. It targeted a budget mandate that directs the state health department to award Federal Title X family planning contracts primarily to full service public health clinics. In this way, tax money subsidizes full-service healthcare for the indigent.
PPKMM won the first round in October 2011, but lost in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals this March. The appeals panel ruled that Planned Parenthood 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.
The defense team for the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, argued Kansas had merely prioritized Title X recipients to be full-service in order to best effectuate the HHS Notice of Grant Award to Kansas. That itemized the priorities of Title X beyond family planning to include “overall health,” flu vaccinations, and mental health and social services. PPKMM doesn’t offer those services.
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 typically reimbursed under Title X.
Since 2009, the Kansas legislature has annually approved this prioritization of public clinics—the Kinzer/ Huelskamp amendment drafted by KFL; it had been vetoed by Governors Sebelius and Parkinson but approved in every budget under current Gov. Sam Brownback.
The Kansas budget provision on Title X does not mention abortion. Nonetheless, PPKMM objected that KDHE (the state health department) could not exclude abortion-connected clinics from Title X grants.
Marten bought into this abortion-bias argument and erroneously forced KDHE to direct approximately one million dollars over the past three years, mainly to Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri. A small portion of that funding went to the now-defunct Dodge City Family Planning Clinic, which Marten had added to the initial complainants.
Kansas has again successfully defeated litigation from abortion interests—our second win, with 2 laws still under challenge.