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Planned Parenthood Drops Federal Challenge to Kan. Antiabortion-Rights Law

Planned Parenthood Drops Federal Challenge to Kan. Antiabortion-Rights Law

December 9, 2014 — Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on Friday announced it dropped a federal lawsuit challenging a Kansas law (HR 2253) that requires abortion providers to include a link to state information about fetal development and abortion on their websites, the AP/U-T San Diego reports (Hanna, AP/U-T San Diego, 12/5).

Background

The law also requires abortion providers to tell women that fetuses are able to feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy and that an abortion terminates the "life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Other provisions in the law ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus, block tax credits and impose additional tax liabilities for abortion providers and prohibit abortion providers from being involved in public schools' sex education classes (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/25/13).

In June 2013, PPKM filed a suit against the law, contending that requiring abortion providers to tell patients specific information violates the providers' freedom of speech (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/24/13). The trial was scheduled to begin on Dec. 8, 2014.

According to AP/U-T San Diego, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park still shares the required materials on its website but also includes a disclaimer. The disclaimer specifies that the organization is required by the state to include the information, and that the information does not necessarily reflect medical consensus.

PPKM: Case 'Voluntarily Dismissed'

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil said the case was closed in a one-page order. Vratil ordered PPKM and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's (R) office to file a joint statement about the agreement by Dec. 8, 2014.

Elise Higgins, a spokesperson for PPKM, said the organization "voluntarily dismissed the case," noting "there was no settlement." Specifically, PPKM CEO Laura McQuade said the organization "made the decision to focus our resources on expanding access to care for our patients in 2015."

Schmidt's office said it will not comment on the case until the joint statement is filed (AP/U-T San Diego, 12/5).