By Cheryl Sullenger
Topeka, KS – Planned Parenthood quietly filed a stipulation in a Kansas District Court to dismiss its legal challenge of a 2011 state law that reallocated Title X Family Planning funds to community groups that do not participate in abortion. This move allows the law to take effect, stripping Planned Parenthood of hundreds of thousands of tax dollars each year.
Planned Parenthood gave up its fight after a Federal Appeals Court issued a ruling in March that reversed the August 2011 ruling of Judge Thomas Marten that forced Kansas to continue to pour money into Planned Parenthood’s coffers while the case was being litigated.
“This is a huge victory that can serve as encouragement to other states that it is possible to defund Planned Parenthood,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, who has long advocated for stripping abortion providers of public tax dollars. “Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars being spent to prop up Planned Parenthood.”
Currently ten states have passed laws to defund Planned Parenthood, but some of those are tied up in court. Kansas is among the first states that have been freed to actually pull the funding.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri claimed that the money did not go to abortion services but was being mainly used to keep open two offices in Wichita and Hays that did not provide abortions. Those two locations now face closure.
“The truth is that two centers in Hays and Wichita were little more than abortion referral centers that funneled abortion patients to Planned Parenthood in Overland Park on a regular basis – at taxpayer expense,” said Newman. “There are abundant medical services available for women in Hays and Wichita so that the closure of those Planned Parenthood offices will have no effect on the availability of legitimate health care for women in those communities.”
The 2011 law was well crafted and did not mention Planned Parenthood or abortion. It allowed the state to reprioritize how Title X funding was distributed in Kansas so that the money was instead going to community clinics not involved with abortion.
“We take seriously our duty to defend Kansas law against legal challenges,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt told the Associated Press. “This law was successfully defended.”
While Operation Rescue applauds Attorney General’s defense of the law stripping Planned Parenthood of Title X funds, it has been frustrated by his apathy toward defending a 2011 law that provided safety standards for abortion clinics. Currently Kansas abortion clinics are completely unaccountable and are never inspected.
Operation Rescue has criticized Schmidt for failing to aggressively defend that law, which requires abortion clinics to be licensed, and places clinic oversight under the auspices of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. That law is being challenged in state court by a father/daughter team of abortionists, Herbert Hodes and Tracy Nauser, who operate an abortion clinic in Overland Park.
“There has been absolutely no action in the clinic licensing case since August 2012. Right now, women are being subjected to substandard abortion practices in Kansas because the law that would have, for the first time, provided for abortion clinic oversight, inspections and minimum safety regulations has sat in limbo,” said Newman. “Inaction of that case is placing women in danger every day.”
Newman further stated, “We know that most abortion clinics provide shoddy services and don’t want to be subject to any kind legitimate medical standards because they know they can’t comply. The only way they can stay open is by cutting corners on women’s safety and with the aid of tax dollars. Clinic licensing and safety standards, coupled with the defunding of the abortion industry, could spell the end of the abortion cartel in America. Kansas has the laws in place to close at least three – and possibly all four abortion clinics that now operate in that state. But without a defense of the law and enforcement, those laws might as well not exist.”
Operation Rescue launched a petition to Gov. Sam Brownback, an ardent pro-life supporter, asking him to instruct the Attorney General’s office to immediately begin defending the 2011 clinic licensing law. The public, including those outside Kansas, are encouraged to sign the petition so that women can be protected by common-sense safety standards that currently do not exist.
Click here to sign the petition.