Kansas is gutting Planned Parenthood’s funding through its Medicaid program, according to Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in his State of the State address Tuesday night:
‘We have become the shining city on the hill and the champions for life.’
Brownback gave his speech at the same time President Barak Obama was giving the State of the Union address and during an important university basketball game. Then, to guarantee he would attract as little attention as possible, Brownback’s speech was not televised.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley (D) said scheduling the governor’s speech on the same night as the president’s speech was “an intentional effort to avoid any sort of spotlight.”
In the governor’s address, he urged the Republican-heavy state legislators to transform his defunding Planned Parenthood policy into law.
Kansas has just two Planned Parenthood clinics. Only the one located in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park performs abortions. The Wichita clinic performed abortions until its doctor, George Tiller, was shot dead in 2009 during church.
Planned Parenthood lobbyist for Kansas and Mid-Missouri Elise Higgins said that Medicaid funds of approximately $61,000 would refund clinics for health exams, birth control, and cancer screenings for low-income women:
‘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. We intend to fight this.’
The governor has always been a heavy-weight anti-abortionist. As soon as he took office in 2011, Brownback signed a law removing Planned Parenthood from receiving federal dollars through the state health department.
In his state address, Brownback directed the health department to make sure “not a single dollar of taxpayer money” supports healthcare for needy Kansas women:
‘The time has come to finish the job.’
Under Brownback, Kansas was the first state to ban second-trimester abortions, which is a common procedure. The state Court of Appeals placed a hold on the law, so they can review it.
Last year, Brownback had the state medical board investigate whether or not Kansas participated in for-profit fetal tissues sales. Ironically, the lone clinic providing abortions doesn’t even has a program for legal donations.
Five states have tried to block Medicaid money from going to Planned Parenthood, but federal courts stopped the actions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook (R) supports Brownback’s announcement:
‘The momentum is in favor of respecting life.’
Brownback refused to accept $31 million in federal money available under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). As a result, one hospital has closed, and a national study says 17 other rural Kansas hospitals are at risk of closing. Republicans have resisted expanding the state’s Medicaid program, but rural hospitals’ financial woes put pressure on the state.
In his address, Brownback also said he plans to stop Obama’s administration from moving the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba terrorism suspects to Kansas’ infamous Fort Leavenworth prison.
In addition, he plans to reformulate education funding, once again.
Brownback neglected to mention in his speech the $191 million 2015-2016 fiscal year shortfall his failed tax experiment caused.
Featured Image: Bo Rader via The Wichita Eagle,