July 7, 2011 — U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten on Wednesday agreed to postpone the first hearing in a lawsuit over a Kansas law that prevents family planning funds from going to Planned Parenthood clinics, the AP/Wichita Eagle reports. Marten granted a request from state attorneys, who asked to delay the hearing originally scheduled for Friday (AP/Wichita Eagle, 7/6).
Last month, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri filed the lawsuit in Kansas City's U.S. District Court 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 go to public health departments and hospitals. Planned Parenthood alleges that the law violates its free speech and legal due process. For 2012-2013, Kansas is expected to receive about $2.7 million in Title X funds, which help pay for contraceptive services and supplies, Pap tests, cancer screenings and other preventive health services for low-income women. The money cannot be used to pay for abortion services. Planned Parenthood would lose about $330,000 under the new budget (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/28).
The judge did not announce a new date for the hearing, but state lawyers asked for up to an additional 30 days. According to court filings, Planned Parenthood had agreed to delay the proceedings for one week under conditions that the state would meet. The state lawyers said that they were given an "unrealistic and unreasonable" amount of time to prepare for the hearing.
According to the Kansas City Star, the state already sent about $204,000 of the family planning money to the Sedgwick County Health Department and a federally qualified health center in Ellis County that have agreed to begin offering family planning services to low-income residents (Cooper, Kansas City Star, 7/6).