TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Planned Parenthood and the state of Kansas settled the group’s federal lawsuit that challenged a requirement for abortion providers to have a link on their websites’ home pages to state materials about fetal development and terminating pregnancies.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil issued a one-page order to close the lawsuit after noting attorneys “confirmed that they have settled and compromised the claims,” without providing details. A trial had been scheduled to begin Monday in Kansas City, Kansas.
Vratil ordered the parties to file a joint statement about the settlement by Monday.
A spokeswoman for the Kansas attorney general’s office did not immediately return a message seeking details. An attorney for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri declined comment, and the group did not discuss settlement terms in a statement from CEO and president Laura McQuade.
“We made the decision to focus our resources on expanding access to care for our patients in 2015,” the statement said.
Planned Parenthood argued that the requirement to link to state materials violated the group’s free-speech rights. The rule was enacted by legislators last year, and was a more specific, Internet-age mandate than a previous law mandating state materials must be provided to patients before they have their abortions.
Planned Parenthood objected because the required language for the link included the phrase “unborn child,” and the materials contained a statement that abortion ends the life of a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
Legislators this year removed a requirement for providers’ home page links to declare that the state’s materials are objective and scientifically accurate — something Planned Parenthood also had challenged. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is a strong abortion opponent, and the Legislature has anti-abortion majorities in both chambers.
The state said its power to regulate medicine allows for rules about materials so that patients get good, objective information. It also said Planned Parenthood’s home page already links to another page that gives patients access to the state’s materials.
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