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Supreme Court hears Planned Parenthood arguments

September 28, 2000
By: Laetitia Thompson
State Capital Bureau

Planned Parenthood's efforts to get state funds for family planning came before Missouri's Supreme Court.

Laetitia Thompson reports from Jefferson City that Supreme Court justices immediately began questioning why the state was suing the state in the Planned Parenthood case:

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The state is defending the Health Department's effort to give the money to Planned Parenthood.

But under legislative pressure, the Attorney General also hired a private lawyer to defend the state law that bans money to the organization.

It's a legal conflict of interest that Health Department Director Maureen Dempsey criticized after the hearing.


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FILL:Dempsey says the case is bizarre and questions how the state cand sue itself.

Dempsey says Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion counseling, should be eligible for pregnancy counseling funds.

A lower court has disagreed.

From Jefferson City, I'm Laetitia Thompson, KMOX News.


It's a legal conflict of interest.

The Missouri Legislature says Planned Parenthood may not receive state money for pregnancy counseling.

But as Laetitia Thompson in Jefferson City explains, the Missouri Supreme Court found the case confusing.

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Under legislative pressure, the Attorney General contracted a private lawyer to represent the law.

But the Attorney General also represents the Health Department, which says Planned Parenthood should get the money.

Confused? So were the justices.


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FILL:Justices question lawyers about who is representing the state and whether the state can sue itself.

That's the question the Supreme Court will need to decide.

From Jefferson City, I'm Laetitia Thompson.