Ky. Senate Committee Advances Bill To Cut Funding for Planned Parenthood
A Kentucky Senate panel on Thursday advanced a bill (SB 7) that aims to defund Planned Parenthood, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
The bill now heads to the full state Senate, where it is expected to pass (Cheves, Lexington Herald-Leader, 1/21). The state House is considering a similar measure (BR 292).
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the state received $5.4 million in Title X funds. The state allocates Title X funds among county health departments to provide low-income patients access to contraception, screenings for breast and cervical cancer, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and testing and counseling services for pregnancy, among other services. Title X funding is not used to cover abortion care.
According to KCHFS spokesperson Jill Midkiff, local health departments in Fayette and Jefferson counties contracted with nearby Planned Parenthood clinics to use the funding for Title X services. In the last fiscal year, the Planned Parenthood clinics in Lexington and Louisville received $331,309 in Title X funds (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/6/15).
The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Max Wise (R), was proposed in response to a series of misleadingvideos targeting Planned Parenthood.
Under the measure, the state would allocate funding for family planning services via a three-tiered system. Public health departments would be the top funding priority, followed by private health care facilities that offer comprehensive primary and preventive care. Although the measure does not explicitly ban funding for Planned Parenthood, it would relegate the organization to the third tier, where it would receive only remaining funds.
The bill originally sought to block public funding from going toward any provider that offers "referrals to or information about facilities where abortions are performed or individuals who perform abortions." However, Wise revised the bill in response to concerns that the bill's original language could have resulted in the state losing federal Title X Family Planning funding.
According to the Herald-Leader, some have noted that the revised bill could still compromise the state's federal Title X funding. Under federal law, pregnant women who receive care through Title X funding must have the chance to be presented with medical information about abortion care.
Derek Selznick, director of the Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project, added that eliminating Planned Parenthood's Title X funding would increase the state's unintended pregnancy rate and could result in other health complications.
Ashlee Bergin, a Louisville ob-gyn, called the bill "bad medicine." She said, "The legislature must not interfere with the doctor-patient relationship by dictating what health care information can be shared," adding, "My patients must be able to make medical decisions with knowledge of all options, and based on what's right for themselves and their families" (Lexington Herald-Leader, 1/21).