WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas is cutting Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri. It’s a promise Governor Sam Brownback first made in January in his State of the State address.
Late Wednesday, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri filed suit in Federal court to force Kansas to keep Medicaid funding in place for the group.
“This is an outrageous attempt by Governor Brownback to punish the woman and men who have freely chosen Planned Parenthood for their health care for decades,” says Laura McQuade, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri. “This is not over. Our doors are open today, they’ll be open tomorrow, and we’ll fight this with everything we’ve got.”
Lawmakers on Sunday voted in the measure, to make sure Title X funds would not go to Planned Parenthood.
“It was absolutely something that was on everyone’s radar since January when the governor started the discussion on it. It didn’t pass until Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening,” says Republican Senator Michael O’Donnel of Wichita. “The issue was there were some places that had a partnership with Planned Parenthood… so some county health clinics might have partnerships with a Planned Parenthood. So (Senate Bill 436) just making sure there was that defined line that wasn’t going to be crossed as far as there wasn’t going to be any funding going to, and it’s not just Planned Parenthood, but any clinic that provides abortion.”
Title X funds have been given a new priority. The roughly $60,000 a year that would have gone to Planned Parenthood under Medicaid funds, will now go to “full service” public health clinics instead.
“That funding, no matter how you feel on the issue of abortion, we’re not even talking about abortion,” says Democrat House member Gail Finney of Wichita. “We’re talking about eliminating government funding for poor women.”
Finney says he is not surprised to hear of a lawsuit over the funding. Other lawmakers say a fight was expected.
“But I’m sure there is going to be blowback and people are going to be upset about it,” says O’Donnell. “At the end of the day, Planned Parenthood isn’t the only place for women to get healthcare.”
Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri has clinics in the Kansas City area and one in Wichita.
On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Environment informed Planned Parenthood it was terminating its status as a provider.
Planned Parenthood is not saying whether or not it will take legal action, but says it has federal statute on its side.
“Denying Kansans on Medicaid access to Planned Parenthood services flies in the face of the clear federal guidance that protects the rights of patients to see their provider of choice,” says McQuade.
The lawsuit names Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier as a defendant. The lawsuit says it is a civil action and says by federal law, Medicaid enrollees may seek family planning services form a participating provider of their chose, and have those services covered by Medicaid.