Kansas Senate Approves Bill to De-Fund Planned Parenthood, Sends Money to Public Hospitals

State   |   Micahel Cook   |   Mar 22, 2016   |   7:12PM   |   Topeka, KS

The Kansas Senate moved forward with a bill on Monday that would ensure that no taxpayer dollars are going to fund the abortion industry.

Kansas Senate Bill 436 would prioritize Title X grants, which are taxpayer-funded, by awarding them to full-service public health clinics and hospitals first. Planned Parenthood, which often receives these grants from various states, would be pushed to the end of the list because it does not provide comprehensive health care and, essentially, defunded.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the full state Senate is likely to vote on the bill later this week.

The bill would make permanent a statute in the annual Kentucky budget that gives higher priority to comprehensive health care providers, according to Kansans for Life. The pro-life group wrote on its blog Tuesday:

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must De-Fund Planned Parenthood Immediately

Kansas’s right to prioritize full-service providers was upheld in 2014 by federal appellate court after Planned Parenthood sued the budget allotment —and lost.

In Kansas, federal Title X reproductive health funds go first to full-service facilities, mainly public health clinics, and then public hospitals. The Kansas legislature has annually budgeted for this since 2011 (after 4 years of pro-abortion governor vetoes).

The point of SB 436 is to make permanent in statute what has been an annual budget item. On behalf of her 26 Senate co-sponsors, Sen. Caryn Tyson (R-Parker) was the bill carrier.

As she had attempted in committee, abortion supporter Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) once again tried to amend SB 436 to create a new revenue stream for Planned Parenthood. The amendment failed.

According to the local news report, state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, also accused Francisco of pushing an amendment that could lead to eugenics in Kansas. The amendment supported a federal program advocating for long-term contraception for minority and low-income women, according to the report. Pilcher-Cook likened the targeting of these populations to eugenic programs that discriminated against selected groups of people in the 1930s and ’40s.

“It’s government treading on very dangerous territory. Our country firmly and finally rejected eugenics. Let’s not bring it back,” Pilcher-Cook said.

Earlier this month, Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director for Kansans for Life, urged the state Senate Ways & Means Committee to pass SB 436.

“SB 436 is good stewardship, because our tax dollars are supplementing local physicians who can treat all members of the community, including geriatric and pediatric cases, not just STD testing and contraceptive visits,” Ostrowski said.

Kansas first attempted to defund abortion businesses in 2007 with the Huelskamp-Kinzer amendment, which prioritized full-service public clinics and hospitals for Title X reproductive health services money, according to the pro-life group. The amendment failed until pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback took office in 2011 and approved it in the budget every year.

According to the pro-life group:

Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri (PPKMM) sued the Title X prioritization because they cannot provide the comprehensive care now required. During litigation, however, PPKMM continued to receive over a million dollars when Kansas was forced by an activist court to continue contracting with them.

The Kansas Attorney Generals’ office strongly defended the measure in federal district court, and on appeal. Dr. Robert Moser, then-KDHE Secretary who was named in the lawsuit, justified the state’s position, stating, “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.”

The Title X prioritization of the Huelskamp-Kinzer amendment was finally upheld in a ruling from the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2014. After PPKMM’s loss, they dropped further appeals.

In the past year, a number of states have moved to defund Planned Parenthood after its employees were caught in a series of undercover videos attempting to sell aborted babies’ body parts. The Virginia state Senate moved one such bill forward earlier this month, while the Florida state legislature sent another defunding bill to its governor’s desk.