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Ky. Senate Approves Bill Targeting Planned Parenthood

February 3, 2016 — The Kentucky Senate voted 33-5 to approve a bill (SB 7) that aims to defund Planned Parenthood, AP/ABC News reports.

The bill now moves to the state House (Schreiner, AP/ABC News, 2/2).

Background

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.

Under the defunding measure, sponsored by state Sen. Max Wise (R), 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 (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/27).

Planned Parenthood Responds

Planned Parenthood criticized the bill, arguing it penalizes providers who share information with patients about abortion care.

Tamarra Wieder, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said, "Providers must be able to talk to their patients about all services available to them," noting, "Gag rules hurt patients and tie the hands of providers" (AP/ABC News, 2/2).