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Planned Parenthood Asks Judge To Force Kan. To Resume Making Payments

Planned Parenthood Asks Judge To Force Kan. To Resume Making Payments

August 24, 2011 — Attorneys representing Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on Monday asked U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten to require the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to resume quarterly payments of federal Title X family planning funds, the AP/Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Despite Marten's recent ruling that the state must resume the allocation of payments to PPKM, the state has not issued any funds to the organization, according to PPKM President and CEO Peter Brownlie (Milburn, AP/Bloomberg Businessweek, 8/22).

The state is pursuing an appeal of Marten's decision to halt enforcement of a new state law that would require Kansas to allocate federal family planning funding to public health departments and hospitals, leaving no money for Planned Parenthood and similar groups.

This week, lawyers from the Kansas attorney general's office asked a federal judge to clarify whether the state can make monthly payments of federal family planning funds to the organization (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/23). The state also asked to only make payments for services provided.

PPKM has estimated that it stands to lose $330,000 annually if the law is enforced. In its written request, PPKM attorney Lee Thompson said the state has had three weeks to comply with the court's order, yet continues "to stall and otherwise avoid compliance." Thompson said the organization would file a civil contempt motion with the federal court if the state does not produce the funds.

In addition, Thompson wrote that the judge's order requires the state to maintain "the status quo," which would mean quarterly payments since the fiscal year started in July. The state seeks "to change the status quo between the parties and further delay compliance with the order by imposing a new 'after the fact' reimbursement schedule and other administrative delays," Thompson wrote (AP/Bloomberg Businessweek, 8/22).

PPKM Drops Suit Over Clinic Regulations

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, PPKM dropped a federal lawsuit challenging a separate Kansas law that imposes new regulations requiring abortion clinics to obtain state licenses, the AP/Columbus Republic reports. The organization dropped the suit hours before receiving its license (AP/Columbus Republic, 8/24).

The law authorizes KDHE to write standards for buildings and equipment, issue annual licenses for abortion clinics, fine clinics for non-compliance and go to court to close clinics. The standards include stipulations regarding the sizes of rooms and closets, room temperature settings, and stocking of drugs and supplies.

The law was supposed to take effect on July 1, but U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia blocked the measure until the lawsuit is resolved. Murguia questioned whether state officials could show that the KDHE rules were "rationally related" to protecting patients (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/4). That lawsuit -- involving two abortion providers who were denied licenses -- is still pending (AP/Columbus Republic, 8/24).