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Planned Parenthood Wins Order Temporarily Restoring Funding

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- A Kansas law that would have the effect of stripping funding from Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri was temporarily blocked by a U.S. judge.

The measure, signed into law in May by Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, made the Overland Park, Kansas-based organization ineligible for federal money the group said paid for cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control and basic family planning for the poor and the uninsured.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten in Kansas City, Kansas, today granted Planned Parenthood’s request for an order blocking the law, which took effect on July 1.

“The court finds that the public interest supports injunctive relief,” Marten said in a 36-page ruling. That interest, he said, is advanced by the use of the funding consistent with the intent of Congress and “free from punitive, viewpoint-based or associational discrimination.”

Planned Parenthood in June sued Brownback and the state’s secretary of the Department of Health and Environment, Robert Moser, claiming it was being punished for its support of abortion rights, according to Marten’s ruling.

Claiming federal constitutional violations, the group alleged the new regulation -- which prioritized the federal grant money to public entities, hospitals and federally qualified health centers -- effectively made the group ineligible for the money.

‘Directly Aimed’

“It was directly aimed at Planned Parenthood,” the group’s chief executive officer, Peter Brownlie, said today in a telephone interview.

The federal money didn’t pay for abortion services, which are privately funded, Brownlie said, adding that it didn’t provide those services at its Wichita and Hays, Kansas, locations that had been getting the federal grant money.

“We assume the state will honor the court’s order and resume funding,” he said.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in an e-mailed statement that the state will appeal the decision.

The case is Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri v. Brownback, 11cv2357, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas (Kansas City).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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