March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Kansas won an appeals court decision that lets it block federal funds for two Planned Parenthood clinics that claimed the state was punishing the organization for its support of abortion rights.
Today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver is a victory for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican who in 2011 signed a measure that restricted federal funding for family planning to hospitals, county health departments and federally qualified health centers.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri persuaded a federal judge in Kansas City in 2011 to block the defunding measure after arguing it was designed to target abortion providers. That ruling was reversed today by a three-judge panel that said it’s up to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, and not private parties, to contest the Kansas law.
Before today’s ruling, Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit health centers in Kansas cared for more than 5,700 people each year through the federal Title X program, according to a statement from the organization. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in the statement that Planned Parenthood in Kansas will remain open.
“What’s clear is that for lasting change, we need new leadership at the state level -- to prevent these cruel and dangerous laws from passing in the first place,” Richards said in the statement.
A Planned Parenthood clinic in Dodge City that was involved in the challenge to Kansas’ law wasn’t an abortion provider in 2011, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten said in his ruling blocking the defunding in October of that year.
The case is Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri v. Robert Moser, 11-3235, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit (Denver).
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