Kansas Planned Parenthood serves the community

Angel Tolstikhina

Recently, Planned Parenthood facilities in Kansas have been undergoing some difficult times fighting for the right to keep Medicaid funding. Kansas Department of Health and Environment almost cut off the financial support from the Planned Parenthood facilities that patients use for exams and cancer screening.

The state government may pursue cutting funding due to the allowance of abortions in the clinics, even though Medicaid does not provide any funds for that kind of treatment.

Amy White, a lecturer from Washburn School of Nursing, shared that patients have a need for Medicaid that helps Kansans living in poverty stay healthy.

White said that the more complex complications and diseases end up costing even more when people who cannot afford insurance don’t have access to routine healthcare.

“When these patients present to emergency departments, the hospital must bear the cost,” said White. “This leads to decreases in revenue and less job creation.”

Two Planned Parenthood affiliates filed a lawsuit against the state health department’s top administrator, which resulted in a hearing by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson.

The judge issued a temporary order in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood attorneys, which was criticized by attorneys of Susan Mosier, the Secretary of KDHE.

Departmental lawyers argued that it would be premature for the U.S. District Judge to act yet because the state hasn’t formally cut off Medicaid funding. Initially, Kansas planned to cut off health coverage on May 10, but faced the delay three times after the lawsuit was filed.

Just as in other states including Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah, a federal judge has blocked Kansas attempts against two Planned Parenthood affiliates. In addition, the court predicted a success on their claim about the violation of a free-choice provider provision in the Medicaid Act done by the Kansas government. 

“After the court’s ruling, the State Governor’s office stated they will continue to fight to make Kansas a pro-life state,” said White. “There are many ways to decrease abortion without limiting access to care – increasing access to birth control and educational resources would be a good first step to decreasing unplanned pregnancies.”

Kansas’ Health department, however, justified their attempts to purge Medicaid support because of a dispute that had happened last December over an inspection of fetal tissue handling and because of the allegations against Planned Parenthood in Oklahoma and Texas that were later resolved.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is known for his pro-life beliefs, which he has verbally shared multiple times. So far, State government had only succeeded in blocking federal family planning funds for non-abortion services dedicated for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Originally, two Planned Parenthood affiliates got involved because one of them serves Kansas patients, even though the clinic is located in Joplin, Missouri. Another one provides both surgical and medication abortions at its clinics in Overland Park and Wichita.

“The decision to decline Federal Medicaid expansion funds in addition to recent cuts in Medicaid reimbursement to providers has negatively affected healthcare in Kansas,” said White. “The effects of Medicaid cuts are cyclic and detrimental to Kansas people, Kansas communities and the Kansas economy.”