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Planned Parenthood Seeks Immediate Hold on Kan. Antiabortion Law

Planned Parenthood Seeks Immediate Hold on Kan. Antiabortion Law

June 25, 2013 — Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on Monday requested a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of a Kansas antiabortion-rights law while a lawsuit determining its constitutionality is resolved, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The law is scheduled to take effect July 1 (Hanna, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/24).

The contested law requires Kansas abortion providers to post a link on their websites to a Kansas Department of Health and Environment site with information about abortion and fetal development. In addition, providers must 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" (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/24). Other provisions in the law ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus, block tax breaks for abortion providers and prohibit abortion providers from being involved in public schools' sex education classes (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/24).

Chief U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil has scheduled a hearing on the motion for Wednesday.

Planned Parenthood's Arguments

PPKM in its motion said the injunction would "preserve the status quo and prevent the immediate and irreparable injuries that will otherwise unfold upon the act taking effect."

The group argued in the original lawsuit that it would have to label the posted link on its website as "objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate information," even though the organization does not believe the state website meets those standards. In addition, the group said the law requires physicians to make a "misleading statement of philosophical and/or religious belief" by mandating that they describe a fetus as a separate and distinct human being.

Although the state has not formally responded to the lawsuit or motion, a spokesperson for the attorney general's office promised a "vigorous" defense of the law (Morris, Kansas City Star, 6/24).

Other Challenge Against Law

Two abortion providers -- physicians Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser -- who work at a health center in Overland Park, Kan., filed a separate legal challenge last week against the entire law in Shawnee County District Court. A hearing had not been scheduled as of Monday (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/24).