Topeka Buried in the $13.8 billion state budget approved by the Legislature early Friday is a provision that Planned Parenthood says essentially ends federal family planning funding to its Kansas clinics.
“Thousands of Kansans are now at risk of losing access to basic, preventative health care,” said Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
But Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, hailed the measure. Speaking to the House GOP caucus on Thursday before a vote on the budget, Brownback said Kansas would become only the second state in the nation to “zero out funding of Planned Parenthood.” The caucus erupted in cheers and the overall budget was passed later with only Republican support.
The dispute is over federal funds that are passed through by states to Planned Parenthood clinics. Abortion opponents have worked against this funding at the federal level and in some states because some Planned Parenthood clinics perform abortions.
Planned Parenthood argues that under the law, the federal funds cannot used to pay for abortions. But its critics say that any public money that goes to Planned Parenthood indirectly supports abortion services.
The budget approved by the Kansas Legislature includes a provision that puts Planned Parenthood at the bottom of an eligibility list for the federal funds.
The funds go toward getting low-income women health care, such as birth control, cancer screenings, pap tests, annual exams, and sexually transmitted testing and treatment.
In Kansas, Planned Parenthood says it provides more than 3,000 pap tests and breast exams, 9,000 birth control visits, and 18,000 sexually transmitted disease tests. Planned Parenthood currently receives about $334,000 in funding under the program.
Planned Parenthood's health centers in Wichita and Hays, which receive the funding, do not provide abortion services. They serve nearly 9,000 women per year, and the Hays clinic is one of the only clinics in that area that offers family planning services to low-income women, according to the organization.
Brownlie said Planned Parenthood is considering whether to file a lawsuit to prevent the budget provision from taking effect. Last month, the Indiana Legislature passed a law to withhold funding to Planned Parenthood and the issue is now being litigated. However, a federal judge has refused to temporarily block the law while the reproductive health organization fights it.