Victory for Planned Parenthood!

Planned Parenthood Kansas Ruling: Judge Orders State To Resume Funding

BY ROXANA HEGEMAN   08/30/11 07:26 PM ET   AP

WICHITA, Kan. — A federal judge ordered Kansas to immediately resume funding a Planned Parenthood chapter on the same quarterly schedule that existed before a new state law stripped it of all federal funding for non-abortion services.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten on Tuesday rejected the state’s request that it pay Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri monthly and only for services provided.

The judge also declined to order Planned Parenthood to post a bond in the event the state prevailed in the lawsuit.

Planned Parenthood has sued to block a provision of the state budget preventing the organization from receiving any of the state’s share of federal family planning dollars.

Marten wrote in his ruling that the intent of the court’s earlier order was to restore and maintain the prior status quo between the parties, a relationship that was based on quarterly installment payments of the federal money. He said the monthly reimbursement schedule the state wants would have the effect of undermining the clinic’s ability to maintain its current level of services.

Planned Parenthood said last week that it would stop providing services at its clinic in Hays on Friday unless it was told it would soon receive the money. Friday would also have been last day the organization offered a sliding fee scale for low-income patients at its Wichita clinic.

“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,” Marten wrote in his ruling.

Even if the court’s Aug. 1 temporary injunction is later overturned or modified, the residents of Hays and Wichita will be best assured of continued family planning services by maintaining the status quo, the judge said.

Planned Parenthood has argued that if it lost the $330,000 a year in Title X funding it would be forced to close its clinic in the western Kansas city of Hays. It contended its 5,700 patients who go to its Wichita and Hays clinics would face higher costs, longer wait or travel times for appointments and have less access to services.

No federal money goes to abortions. At issue in the lawsuit are Title X funds to help low-income individuals with reproductive health care services such as birth control, cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

The clinic had argued that Marten’s initial injunction required the state to maintain “the status quo” which would mean quarterly payments beginning in July at the start of the state’s fiscal year.

Planned Parenthood President and CEO Peter Brownlie said he was pleased and cautiously optimistic that his group would hear from the state by Wednesday a definitive date when KDHE would resume its funding, as it has been ordered for a month now.

“I can’t imagine that the state would continue to defy a federal court order,” Brownlie said. “I am hopeful that it will do the right thing and resume the funding.”

Neither the Kansas attorney general’s office nor KDHE immediately returned calls for comment.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a new state law which requires Kansas to allocate federal family planning dollars first to public health departments and hospitals, leaving no money for Planned Parenthood or similar groups.

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No to Funding Healthcare, Yes to Funding Marriage

Kansas wants federal funds to promote marriage

By Brad Cooper | The Kansas City Star  Tuesday, August 16, 2011

While turning down one federal handout last week, the administration of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was applying for a different one.

No, thanks: $31.5 million for implementing the new federal health care law.

Please remit: $6.6 million to promote marriage.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is seeking $2.2 million a year for three years to pay for counseling that encourages unwed parents to marry. Free marriage licenses would be given to those who do.

State officials portrayed the grant request as the state’s first major marriage initiative aimed at reducing child poverty.

In giving up the $31 million, the governor said that every state should prepare for less federal cash, given that so many questions are swirling about government spending.

So why ask for marriage money?

Kansas Sen. Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said the Brownback team is picking grants based on how they fit with its worldview.

Turning down the $31 million made a statement opposing President Barack Obama’s health care initiative, Hensley said. Promoting marriage was another matter for the Republican governor, he said.

“When it benefits their philosophical ideology, everything is fine,” Hensley said. “Where it doesn’t fit in or goes against them — either from a policy or political standpoint — then the federal money isn’t OK.”

Brownback’s staff didn’t detail why one grant would be more acceptable than the other, but it outlined how Kansas decides which grants to seek and which to forgo.

“The administration doesn’t have a blanket policy regarding grants. … Each potential grant and the federal requirements that come along with them are evaluated on a case-by-case basis with an increased watchful eye toward long-term mandates with short-term funding streams,” according to statements released to The Star.

Asked if other grants had been rejected, Brownback’s staff said it’s more accurate to say the state has declined to apply for some grants.

The state, for example, isn’t pursuing a slice of the $900 million that the federal government will give out over the next five years to help communities reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/08/16/120833/kansas-wants-federal-funds-to.html#ixzz1VCS1G1P2