Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) said this week that he would cut off Medicaid funding for the state’s Planned Parenthood, joining a host of GOP governors who have attempted to defund the health care organization.
“We have become the shining city on the hill and the champions for life,” Brownback said Tuesday in his State of the State address. “Today, I am directing Secretary Susan Mosier to ensure that not a single dollar of taxpayer money goes to Planned Parenthood through our Medicaid program.”
He added that he would welcome legislation enshrining the directive into state law.
The move would deprive Planned Parenthood of about $61,000 in Medicaid reimbursements, which fund health exams, cancer screenings, and birth control for low-income people, said Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Planned Parenthood provides abortion care in Overland Park, Kansas, and non-abortion services at a clinic in Wichita.
“I am disappointed on behalf of the women who rely on us for health care that the governor has chosen to make them his political scapegoat,” Higgins told The New York Times.
Brownback has passed a series of anti-choice laws in his five years as governor, including the first law in the nation banning dilation and evacuation, a common medical procedure used after miscarriages and in second trimester abortions. That law is under review by the state Court of Appeals.
Brownback launched an investigation last year into whether the state’s Planned Parenthood was selling donated fetal tissue, after an anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress released a series of highly edited videos making that allegation. Kansas facilities don’t have any tissue collection programs, according to the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
Higgins was firm in response to Brownback’s latest attempt to deprive Planned Parenthood of reimbursements. “We intend to fight this.”