August 19, 2011 — U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten on Wednesday rejected a request from the state of Kansas to block a temporary injunction that halts enforcement of a state law blocking federal family planning funding for Planned Parenthood, AP/WIBW reports (Hanna, AP/WIBW, 8/18).
Marten on Aug. 1 granted a request from Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri to temporarily block enforcement of a recently enacted 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.
The ruling orders the state to resume allocation of federal Title X family planning grants to Planned Parenthood clinics as it has for the last 25 years and as promised in the grant application Kansas submitted when requesting a five-year family planning grant (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/10).
Lawyers at the Kansas Attorney General's office have asked that Marten dismiss Gov. Sam Brownback (R) as the defendant, arguing that he is "clothed with absolute legislative immunity" and cannot be sued for actions "taken in the sphere of legitimate legislative activity." The state's lawyers also have requested that Marten dismiss the case all together.
Marten's judicial assistant said the judge would not comment on the pending case.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood President and CEO Peter Brownlie said the organization may ask the federal court to force the state to immediately release federal funds for the group's non-abortion services, the AP/Wichita Eagle reports. Brownlie said the organization thinks the state is not complying with the judge's order, noting that none of its clinics has received any state money since Marten's Aug. 1 ruling. "The state's refusal to comply with the court's order is rather remarkable," Brownlie said, adding that the organization is trying to decide next steps (Hanna, AP/Wichita Eagle, 8/18).