Judge orders Kansas to restore funding to Planned Parenthood
A federal judge ordered that funding for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri be restored immediately, after a new state law stripped it of funding for non-abortion activities.
A provision in the Kansas budget prioritized family planning funding for clinics that did not perform abortions over those clinics that did, meaning that the region’s Planned Parenthood clinics would go un-funded for the majority of their services. The group would lose an estimated $330,000 in funding per year under the new regulation.
Earlier this month, when the lawsuit between Planned Parenthood and the state began, the state had requested permission to deliver monthly reimbursement payments to Planned Parenthood instead of the usual quarterly lump sum the clinic receives.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled Tuesday evening that the state would have to continue funding Planned Parenthood and that they would do so on the previous quarterly schedule. Without the funding, Planned Parenthood said that their clinics in Hays and Wichita would be unable to provide services beyond this week.
Marten wrote in Tuesday’s order (PDF) that the status quo between the state and Planned Parenthood must be restored, including the payment schedule. Reimbursements “would have the effect of undermining the plaintiff’s ability to maintain its current level of services.”
“The court finds no injury to the defendants in maintaining the prior payment schedule, as they will be providing funding in a manner consistent with prior practice between the parties, and to an organization which has consistently provided satisfactory family planning services,” the order continued.
The state had previously refused to pay any taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood this month, and had in fact reappropriated the money that the clinics usually received elsewhere. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment shifted $204,000 to the Sedgwick County health department’s non-abortion family planning services program.
Previously, the state of Kansas had argued that a court order to restore funding would violate the state’s rights.
“The proposed injunction would commandeer one of the State’s agencies, forcing the State to cancel past contracts and enter into new ones selected by the Court,” the state argued. “The proposed injunction would violate the State’s sovereignty and unconstitutionally replace the State’s discretion with the Court’s judgment.”
The Title X family-planning funds in the state are usually finalized by August 31 each year.