Federal Appeals Court Says Kansas Can Defund Planned Parenthood

On Tuesday a federal appeals court ruled that Kansas can strip its two Planned Parenthood clinics of federal funding, in a move that's fairly obviously a retaliation for the organization's support of abortion rights. What a stunning victory for misogynists who oppose women's access to basic reproductive healthcare everywhere.

Per RH Reality Check, this ruling targets funds distributed to the state under Title X — funds that are meant to "provide reproductive health-care services, such as contraception, cancer screenings, pregnancy testing, and treatment for sexually transmitted disease." Notably, federal law already prohibits Title X dollars from financing abortion — but that fact doesn't matter to legislators in several conservative states, who have tried to keep Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving federal funding regardless.

In Kansas, a 2011 law sought to mandate that the state allocate Title X money to public health departments and hospitals first, automatically leaving nothing for specialty family planning critics such as Planned Parenthood. Many critics (rightly) believed that this was meant to penalize the organization for its abortion rights advocacy. Fortunately, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten blocked enforcement of the law, stating in his decision that "the purpose of the statute was to single out, punish and exclude Planned Parenthood." Accordingly, he ordered that Kansas continue funding Planned Parenthood until the case was resolved. But yesterday, sadly, the conservative lunacy resumed: the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Marten's ruling, declaring that Kansas can halt its funding of the organization until the lower courts reach a decision.

According to Think Progress, the two Planned Parenthood clinics in Kansas utilized Title X funding "to provide birth control services to over 9,000 women, as well as more than 2,800 cancer screenings and 8,000 STD tests."

While the lower courts deliberate, Planned Parenthood will do everything in its power to continue helping these thousands of women. "Regardless of what happens in the courts, Planned Parenthood will be here for the women and men who rely on us and we will continue to fight for them — no matter what," said Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards in a statement. "We will explore every possible option to protect the health of women in Kansas."

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