Planned Parenthood Heads to Court in N.C., Kan.

July 13, 2011 — Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina on Tuesday asked a federal court to schedule an early hearing for its federal lawsuit over a provision in the state budget that prevents the state Department of Health and Human Services from distributing grants to the organization, the AP/Charlotte Observer reports (Dalesio, AP/Charlotte Observer, 7/12). The grants fund family planning and teen pregnancy prevention programs. The money is not used for abortion services.

The lawsuit, which was filed July 7, alleges that the provision targets the group for supporting abortion rights and providing abortion care and, thus, is a violation of the First Amendment. The group also says the state violated the due process and equal protection clauses in the Constitution, as well as the bill of attainder clause, which prohibits lawmakers from inflicting punishment on individuals or groups without a trial (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/8).

According to a PPCNC court filing, the changes probably will cause the organization to close a Durham clinic, end a teen pregnancy prevention program and lay off eight employees if a judge does not block the law by September. "It is therefore especially important to PPCNC to have this matter heard as expeditiously as possible," the organization's attorneys said. A health department attorney did not comment (AP/Charlotte Observer, 7/12).

Kan. Judge Sets Date for Planned Parenthood Hearing

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten scheduled a hearing for Aug. 1 in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri against a Kansas law that denies the organization family planning funds, AP/KSNT reports. Written arguments in the case are due later this month (AP/KSNT, 7/12).

Last week, Marten agreed to postpone the first hearing in a lawsuit, granting a request from state attorneys who asked to delay the hearing originally scheduled for July 8. The lawsuit was filed last month against a provision in the 2012 state budget that prevents the organization from receiving federal family planning funding through the Title X program. The provision requires that the state's portion of federal family planning funds goes to public health departments and hospitals. Planned Parenthood alleges that the law violates its free speech and legal due process rights (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/7).