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Kan. Governor Looks To Defund Planned Parenthood

January 13, 2016 — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) on Tuesday announced plans to block Planned Parenthood from receiving state Medicaid funding, the AP/Sacramento Beereports.

Background

There are two Planned Parenthood facilities in Kansas, one of which provides abortion care. According to Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, the clinics receive about $61,000 in Medicaid funding annually for providing cancer screenings, contraception services and health exams.

Last year, Brownback asked the state medical board to investigate whether abortion providers in Kansas were selling fetal tissue. Abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, said they do not sell or donate fetal tissue in the state. According to the AP/Bee, the medical board has not yet disclosed the results of its investigation.

Meanwhile, under a law signed by Brownback in 2011, Planned Parenthood already is prohibited from receiving federal family planning funding through the Kansas health department. According to the AP/Bee, Brownback has signed several antiabortion-rights bills into law during his five years in office, including legislation that prohibits a certain type of abortion procedure. The law is on hold pending the outcome of an ongoing lawsuit.

Latest Developments

Brownback on Tuesday said he ordered the state health secretary to block Planned Parenthood from receiving funding through Medicaid. He urged state lawmakers to pass legislation that would make such a policy law. Brownback plans to release budget proposals Wednesday, the AP/Bee reports.

Federal courts have blocked moves to end Planned Parenthood's Medicaid funding in at least five other states, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) said his office would defend a policy that cuts the organization's funding.

Separately, Higgins said Planned Parenthood "intend[s] to fight" the defunding effort. She noted, "I am disappointed on behalf of the women who rely on us for health care that the governor has chosen to make them his political scapegoat" (Hanna, AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/12).