Judge blocks Kansas' Planned Parenthood de-funding plan

The Kansas City StarAugust 2, 2011 

What flies with the Kansas Legislature doesn't always fly in federal court.

For the second time in a month, a federal judge has temporarily halted a law aimed at abortion clinics.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten issued a preliminary injunction Monday that blocks Kansas from stripping federal family-planning funds from Planned Parenthood. He ordered the state to start distributing the money to the agency.

Marten’s ruling — hotly contested by state officials — came just weeks after a federal judge in Kansas City, Kan., temporarily stopped the state from imposing new licensing requirements on abortion providers.

“In our system, one of the reasons we have courts is to ensure that legislative bodies can’t just enact laws that violate the Constitution,” said Peter Brownlie, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

In the ruling Monday, Marten sided with Planned Parenthood, which contended the law was illegal because it imposed new rules on a federal program.

Marten also agreed that Planned Parenthood was being punished because it advocated for abortion rights. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri provides abortions at its Overland Park offices.

“The purpose of the statute was to single out, punish and exclude Planned Parenthood,” Marten said.

Republican Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a sharp response 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,” Schmidt said in a statement.

Schmidt said he would appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

To read the complete article, visit www.kansascity.com.

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