- WICHITA, KS, October 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A U.S. District judge ruled this week that Kansas could not prevent a Dodge City family planning clinic from receiving Title X funds, overruling for the second time a recent law which had cut off government funding for family planning clinics in the state.
Judge Thomas Marten had issued an injunction in July in response to a lawsuit against the law, requiring funding to be restored to Planned Parenthood. Last week, Marten allowed the Dodge City Family Planning Clinic (DCFP) to join Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit, and then ordered the state also to restore funding to the DCFP.
The clinic had demanded $40,000, plus attorney fees, Kansans for Life reports.
The state has already appealed Marten’s earlier decision to restore funding to Planned Parenthood and is awaiting action by the Tenth Circuit.
At stake is a state appropriations bill passed earlier this year by the Kansas Legislature which re-directed Title X funds away from family planning clinics, stipulating that funding would be provided first to public entities and second to entities that “provide primary and preventative care in addition to family planning services.”
That condition disqualified Planned Parenthood, as well as the Dodge City Family Planning Clinic, neither of which provide a comprehensive scope of primary and preventative care.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is representing the Dodge City clinic, Planned Parenthood and the DCFP are the only organizations that lost their funding under the new law. The ACLU is arguing that the law was intended to target abortion providers, and that clinics like the DCFP, which do not provide abortion services, are “collateral damage.”
“While health care providers in the state, including DCFP, can breathe easier and focus on supporting their patients, we hope the courts will strike down this law once and for all,” said Doug Bonney, chief counsel & legal director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. “The state has no business denying women access to critical, legal health services.”
According to Kansans for Life, an affidavit submitted by a DCFP employee contends that the clinic is the sole source for family planning services for women in the city.
A rebuttal brief submitted by the state, however, points out that women in the county “have access to family planning services through (1) private providers, (2) an over-$2 million-dollar-funded Federally Qualified Health Center, the United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries (which chose not to apply as a state Title X provider because of the lawsuit), and (3) Title X- providing agencies, totaling 16 nearby clinics.”
“The State of Kansas will continue to ensure the availability of, and access to, a wider variety of critical medical services to those Kansans most in need. In essence, the only entity that would ‘win’ from injunctive relief would be DCFP, not the low income Kansans for whom Title X was enacted,” the brief argues.