Bloomberg News

Planned Parenthood Sues Kansas Over Abortion Speech Law (1)

June 20, 2013

New Kansas laws, including one requiring abortion providers to tell patients the procedure ends the life of a “separate, unique, living human being,” violate the U.S. Constitution, a Planned Parenthood affiliate said in a federal court complaint.

The affiliate and its medical director are also challenging the legality of requirements that women seeking abortions be told a fetus can feel pain after a certain point in development -- whether their fetus is at that stage or not -- and mandating that the affiliate add to its website a link to a government site offering its own abortion viewpoint and requiring the group to endorse it.

“Plaintiffs seek a judgment declaring that the above requirements violate the rights of plaintiffs and their patients, and seek appropriate injunctive relief,” the Overland Park, Kansas-based affiliate said in its complaint filed today in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas.

The legislation, signed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback on April 19, is set to take effect on July 1. Clint Blaes, a spokesman for state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, didn’t immediately reply to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

While Brownback isn’t a defendant in the case, Schmidt is named in his official capacity, as are Department of Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser and Kimberly Templeton, president of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, a state licensing agency.

‘Informed Consent’

The legislation requires that no abortion be performed in the state without the “voluntary and informed consent” of the woman upon whom the procedure is to be performed. The measure also contains a 24-hour waiting period at the outset of which the patient must be given the pain-related statement in writing.

Failure to abide by the rules can result in medical license suspension or revocation, according to the complaint.

Planned Parenthood’s affiliate and its medical director, Dr. Orrin Moore, seek a court order blocking enforcement of the the measures it says are unconstitutional and declaring them invalid.

The case is Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Inc. v. Templeton, 13-cv-02302, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas (Kansas City).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in the Chicago federal courthouse at

aharris16@bloomberg.net

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


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