ACLU Wants Clinic to Help Planned Parenthood Funding Lawsuit

State   |   Kathy Ostrowski   |   Oct 11, 2011   |   1:58PM   |   Topeka, KS

Now that Judge Thomas Marten has been found willing to violate Kansas state sovereignty by ordering Title X payments to Planned Parenthood without a contract, the ACLU is demanding another failing clinic get a piece of the action.

In August, Marten granted Planned Parenthood a halt to the new Kansas budget proviso directing that Title X family planning money managed by the state health department be contracted primarily with full-service public clinics.

Kansas’ legal team argues that although Marten “found no specific conflict between the language of the state statute and the federal statute, [he] nonetheless struck down the statute because of the Legislature’s alleged bad motive.” (The bad motive is allegedly punishing abortion providers.)

Kansas has been forced already to fork over a payment of $58,000 to Planned Parenthood and last week submitted a 144-page appeal to the 10th circuit court to overturn Marten’s ruling.

Now the Dodge City Family Planning Clinic is complaining 40% of their funding ($38,000) was lost due to exclusion under the new Title X proviso, and thus they should be added as a party in the Planned Parenthood lawsuit. (Actually, this makes the state’s case that the proviso was neutral in applicability and did NOT target abortion providers!)

Dodge City Family Planning is a 2-person southwestern Kansas contraceptive business consisting of a nurse practitioner and a receptionist.  They say they are “collateral damage” of a law based on the state’s animus to abortion, and claim that Kansas wrongly put qualifiers on Title X recipients.

The state’s brief argues that

  • no federal language was contravened by the Kansas proviso;
  • it’s much too late to join the suit;
  • this is a move to take advantage of a favorable judge;
  • Dodge City Family Planning does not share the legal standing of Planned Parenthood as ‘penalized for being abortion providers’;
  • no clinic rights have been violated requiring another emergency judicial intervention;
  • adding a party to the suit delays the state’s appeal of a harmful ruling.

Kansas is correct to rebuff additional delays from the ACLU of their appeal of Judge Marten’s injunctive action.  The state health department had already been making contracts with full service health clinics when the injunction was issued.

Kansas has been forced to bail out Planned Parenthood’s financially failing clinics in Hays and Wichita that were already losing over $260,000 annually.  In fact, the state’s legal filings have alleged that although Title X rules prohibit it, these Planned Parenthood clinics advertise abortion referrals on their websites.  These clinics function as important ‘feeders’ to Planned Parenthood’s busy Overland Park abortion branch– which is facing a years-delayed pre-trial hearing for 107 criminal counts beginning October 24. Note: Kathy Ostrowski is the legislative director for Kansans for Life, a statewide pro-life group.