For the second time this summer, a federal judge has struck down a ridiculous law passed by the Kansas legislature that would have limited women's access to healthcare.
Yesterday U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten granted a preliminary injunction to block the enforcement of a law that required federal family money to be spent at public health institutions first, leaving no money for family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood. According to the Washington Post, the amendment would have forced the organization to shut down one of its three branches in the state:
Planned Parenthood had argued that without the injunction, it would have lost $330,000 a year in federal funding and been forced to close its clinic in the western Kansas city of Hays. It contended its 5,700 patients would face higher costs, longer wait or travel times for appointments and have less access to services.
In Kansas Planned Parenthood only performs abortions in Overland Park, which is the only licensed abortion clinic in the state, thanks to the extreme new regulations. The Hays clinic only provides birth control, cancer screenings, and breast exams for low-income patients.
Judge Marten agreed with Planned Parenthood that the law violated the Supremacy Clause by imposing conditions on federal programs. The state attorney general countered that Kansas's state sovereignty was violated by the injunction. He added:
"It appears that the Court declared a duly-enacted Kansas statute unconstitutional without engaging in the fact-finding one would expect before reaching such a conclusion."
Or the Court did engage in the appropriate amount of fact-finding, and determined that the Kansas legislature is full of it.
The state tried to argue that it wasn't targeting Planned Parenthood for supporting abortion rights, which would violate the right of association guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth amendments. Here Kansas lawmakers were done in by their own gloating. In his decision, Jude Marten noted that several legislators had made remarks prematurely celebrating Planned Parenthood's defunding in speeches to the legislature, Twitter, and press releases. Marten said in his decision, "The purpose of the statute was to single out, punish and exclude Planned Parenthood." Yup, that's the basic idea. Republicans aren't so soulless that they want to see poor women have less access to health care — but if that's a side effect of getting revenge on Planned Parenthood, so be it.
Image via Stephen Finn/Shutterstock.