The Kansas Attorney General's office filed a notice of appeal in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals last week, asking the court to overturn a district court order and allow the state to proceed with a plan that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten granted Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri's injunction to halt a state ban on funding for the organization on August 1. Judge Marten found that the Kansas law unconstitutionally punished Planned Parenthood for advocating for abortion rights.
At issue is state allocation of Title X Family Planning funds. Planned Parenthood maintains that state laws withholding funds from their clinics are unnecessary because Title X funding can only be used for family planning services, like annual exams, Pap smears and birth control.
Supporters of the measure argue that Planned Parenthood's Title X funds indirectly fund abortion because they are applied to the clinics' operating costs and overhead.
The Kansas AG, however, is trying to shift the focus of the debate from abortion funding to Eleventh Amendment state sovereignty protections.
In its appeal, Kansas argues that the court should not find that "the right to obtain an abortion in certain limited circumstances, or even to advocate for abortion, trumps both federal and state spending authority, as well as the State's sovereign immunity," reports the AP.
The Kansas AG is not the only state judicial officer challenging Title X funding in the circuit courts. Indiana filed a similar appeal in the Seventh Circuit after a district judge enjoined an Indiana law that prohibits state agencies from entering contracts with, or making grants to, any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.
More of these Title X funding lawsuits are likely to pop up in the federal courts. New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin have also passed laws to partially or fully withdraw Planned Parenthood funding.
- FindLaw's Tenth Circuit blog (FindLaw)
- Kansas Appeals Ruling in Planned Parenthood Case (The Wichita Eagle)
- Indiana Seeks Appeal on Ban of Public Funding for Abortion (FindLaw's Seventh Circuit blog)
- What Exactly Is Title X Funding? (Huffington Post)