Several states in the last couple of years have taken steps to yank taxpayer funding from the Planned Parenthood abortion business. In each case, the abortion giant has taken the state to court in an attempt to force taxpayers to finance its grisly trade.
Planned Parenthood has admitted defeat in its lawsuit against Kansas after its state legislature dropped funding. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri dropped its legal challenge Friday. The organization filed a brief stipulation of dismissal Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas.
The case stems from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri on behalf of their Kansas abortion-referral facilities in Wichita and Hays. Both clinics became ineligible to receive Title X federal family planning funding when the state enacted an annually-renewed proviso that such money go to full-service public health clinics and hospitals.
“This is a huge victory that can serve as encouragement to other states that it is possible to defund Planned Parenthood,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, who has long advocated for stripping abortion providers of public tax dollars. “Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars being spent to prop up Planned Parenthood.”
The development comes in the wake of an appeals court ruling in March finding that Kansas could strip clinics in Wichita and Hays of the funds while Planned Parenthood pressed its lawsuit contesting a state law it calls retaliation for its advocacy of abortion rights.
But Friday’s court filing ends the litigation.
“We take seriously our duty to defend Kansas law against legal challenges,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a written statement. “This law was successfully defended.”
Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit had challenged a Kansas law that requires the state to first allocate Title X money to public health departments and hospitals, which leaves no funds for specialty family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood.
Kansas had countered that the state law restricting the distribution of federal family planning funds does not target Planned Parenthood because the statute itself does not name the group or even mention abortion.
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U.S. District Court J. Thomas Marten temporarily blocked enforcement of the state law in 2011 until the case was resolved. But a sharply divided panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturned Marten’s rulings, saying Kansas can halt the funding and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.
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.
Kansans for Life legislative director Kathy Ostrowski pointed out that residents of the Jayhawk State have plenty of options for non-abortion family planning services like Planned Parenthood provides without having to go to an abortion business or have the state fund it.
“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,” she said. “These services require ordinary medical talent not unique to Planned Parenthood.”
Ostrowski said shifting the money is helpful because, when non-abortion health care providers can count on receiving a certain dollar amount, it helps that community hire a general clinician who can also deliver health services for infants, youth and seniors.
Olathe state Rep. Lance Kinzer told the Kansas City Star, the provision cutting Planned Parenthood funding “is consistent with the general will of the people in Kansas and it sends an important message with respect to where the vast majority of Kansas are with respect to any tax dollars spent by Planned Parenthood. I think if we can provide those Title X services through an entity like county health departments that everybody has confidence in and aren’t providing abortions then there is really no downside to providing those services in that fashion.”