The Associated Press reports that 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.” The decision comes after Planned Parenthood 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.
“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,” reports AP.
The judge also declined to order Planned Parenthood to post a bond in the event the state prevailed in the lawsuit.
The original 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 other women’s health groups. Kansas is one among several states whose legislatures have spent inordinate amounts of time during an economic crisis seeking means of restricting women’s access to the most basic forms of health care.
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The Planned Parenthood clinic in Hays, Kansas, which receives state and federal funding for provision of family planning services not abortionc care, said last week that it would stop providing services this week unless funding was restored. At stake was the loss of $330,000 a year in Title X funding, and of health care for 5,700 clients who depend on the clinic for care. Friday would also have been last day the organization offered a sliding fee scale for low-income patients at its Wichita clinic, underscoring the grossly disparate effects laws seeking to undermine reproductive health care have for already marginalized women with few resources.
According to AP:
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.
“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 President and CEO Peter Brownlie told AP 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 to AP for comment.