This week, a federal judge in Kansas ordered the state to resume its regular funding of Planned Parenthood while a lawsuit over funding continues.
After Kansas’ Republican-led legislature used the budget to defund Planned Parenthood – to prevent the organization from being eligible for family planning funding – Planned Parenthood sued and, on August 1, a judge blocked the law from taking effect.
But Kansas Governor Sam Brownback didn’t just give in and resume funding Planned Parenthood. He appealed the judge’s ruling and, in the meantime, according to Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri, did not resume their funding.
By this week, Planned Parenthood was saying, if they couldn’t be assured their funding would be restored, they’d have to close down operations at their Hays health center, which serves western and central Kansas and they’d have to stop providing services on a sliding fee scale to low-income patients at their Wichita location.
But then the judge stepped in and issued this latest order, saying the state needs to resume funding for Planned Parenthood right away. And saying, essentially, that that’s what he meant in the first place, back on August 1.
From the AP’s coverage of this week’s ruling:
[Judge] Marten wrote in his ruling that the intent of the court’s earlier order was to restore and maintain the prior status quo between the parties, a relationship that was based on quarterly installment payments of the federal money. … “The court finds no injury to the defendants in maintaining the prior payment schedule, as they will be providing funding in a manner consistent with prior practice between the parties, and to an organization which has consistently provided satisfactory family planning services,” Marten wrote in his ruling. Even if the court’s Aug. 1 temporary injunction is later overturned or modified, the residents of Hays and Wichita will be best assured of continued family planning services by maintaining the status quo, the judge said.
The Brownback administration says it will comply with this week’s ruling. But it will also “continue to pursue a reversal of this order on appeal.” In other words: stay tuned, court watchers!