Planned Parenthood seeks immediate halt to parts of new Kansas abortion law

06/24/2013 4:13 PM

06/24/2013 4:13 PM

A Kansas abortion provider asked a federal judge Monday to issue an injunction stopping portions of the state’s new abortion law from taking effect July 1.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and its medical director last week sued state medical and legal authorities, arguing that their free-speech rights would be violated if Kansas officials enforced the new law.

In court documents filed Monday, Planned Parenthood argued that the injunction would prevent harm to the organization while the lawsuit was litigated, a process likely to take years.

“Plaintiffs have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order in order to preserve the status quo and prevent the immediate and irreparable injuries that will otherwise unfold upon the act taking effect,” court records said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil set a hearing on the motion for the temporary restraining order for 3 p.m. Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan., federal court.

Planned Parenthood contends that disclosure requirements written into the new law would compel abortion providers to endorse the government’s view of abortion.

The state has not yet formally responded to the lawsuit, though a spokesman for the attorney general promised a “vigorous” defense of the law.

Planned Parenthood has said that if the law goes into effect, the organization would have to post a link on its website to a state health department site and label the link as providing “objective, nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate information.” Planned Parenthood does not think all the information on that state website meets those standards, the lawsuit said.

The law also would require physicians to tell women that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks, even though most abortions performed by Planned Parenthood occur well before that, the lawsuit alleges. Physicians also would have to say that abortion terminates the “life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,” which the lawsuit described as “a misleading statement of philosophical and/or religious belief.”

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