Kansas abortion-rights leader steps down March 31

In this photo made Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, Holly Weatherford, right, a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, confers with Elise Higgins, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist, during a House committee meeting at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Planned Parenthood is neutral on an abortion bill that supporters say makes technical changes in state laws. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri says retiring CEO Peter Brownlie’s last day will be March 31.

Planned Parenthood lobbyist Elise Higgins said Tuesday that Vice President of Finance Ron Ellifrits will take over as interim CEO until the organization names a more permanent replacement for Brownlie.

Brownlie announced in November that he would retire after serving as the Planned Parenthood chapter’s top administrator since August 1999.

During his tenure, his organization has challenged anti-abortion laws enacted by Kansas legislators and been the subject of a lengthy but now-dismissed criminal case. Brownlie has been the public face of the organization and a key figure in the state’s abortion rights movement.

Brownlie also has been an administrator with Planned Parenthood affiliates in Michigan, Indiana and Texas.

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