KANSAS CITY, Kan. (EWTN News) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Kansas state government from stripping federal family-planning funds from Planned Parenthood on the grounds that the action imposed new rules on a federal program and it punished the organization because it advocated for abortion rights.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt reacted critically to the ruling.
“It appears that the court declared a duly enacted Kansas statute unconstitutional without engaging in the fact-finding one would expect before reaching such a conclusion,” he said.
Schmidt said he would appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, the Kansas City Star reported.
The legislation restricts federal Title X funds for family-planning activities, which provide Kansas about $2.7 million a year. About $330,000 of that money has gone to Planned Parenthood, which is also the country’s largest abortion provider.
Family-planning money cannot be used for abortions, but pro-life advocates say the funding effectively subsidizes abortion activities. The money pays for family-planning services and contraceptives, pap smears and cancer screenings for low-income women.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten, a Clinton appointee, issued a temporary injunction blocking the provision. He said that the purpose of the statute was to “single out, punish and exclude Planned Parenthood.”
He noted the actions of Republican State Rep. Lance Kinzer, who supported the provision. Kinzer issued a press release saying that the amendment would ensure that no state dollars would be used for abortion. The judge also referred to a Facebook post of Kinzer which called passage of the amendment a “great victory on the first pro-life vote of the session.”
He also noted that the Kansas House speaker’s communications director circulated a press release similar to Kinzer’s.
Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director for Kansans for Life, said she wasn’t surprised by the ruling.
“The judge is being cautious,” she told the Kansas City Star. “There is no precedent on this. There are a lot of politics here.”
Peter Brownlie, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said that the funding provision is contrary to federal law and violates the constitutional rights of Planned Parenthood and its patients.
“It unconstitutionally penalizes Planned Parenthood for our advocacy for and provision of abortion services,” he said.
The ruling is the second in a month to block Kansas legislation against abortion. In July, a federal judge temporarily stopped the state from imposing new licensing requirements on abortion providers.