Mon August 1, 2011
Court Orders State to Continue Funding Planned Parenthood
By Elana Gordon
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A federal judge today issued a temporary block on a new Kansas law that denies federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is suing the state over its decision to redirect the funds to area health departments and clinics instead.
Today's ruling means that Planned Parenthood's clinics in Wichita and Hays will continue to get federal dollars to provide discount family planning services while the case is in court.
Rachel Sussman is with Planned Parenthood's national legal team, and says she's pleased the two Planned Parenthood clinics will have the federal financial support to maintain services during this time.
"Today's decision means so much to our patients who rely on us for affordable, high quality health care, specifically for life saving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, and basic preventative care," says Sussman.
Supporters of the new state law say taxpayer money shouldn't go to organizations that promote abortions, even though Planned Parenthood's clinics in Wichita and Hays don't provide them.
The state also contends a temporary block is unnecessary because other agencies could use the federal dollars to provide similar family planning services.
Planned Parenthood has gotten about $300,000 a year in federal funds for family planning services in Wichita and Hays. The federal dollars account for up to a half of those clinics' budgets, and help provide services to nearly 6,000 low-income Kansans annually, according to the organization.
The new law, passed in the state's budget this year, took effect July 1. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit earlier that week. The Kansas Department of Health, meanwhile, started the process of redistributing the federal funds, granting contracts to the Sedgwick County Health Department in Wichita and First Care Clinic, a federally qualified health center in Hays.
Kansas is one of just a handful of states to approve legislation this year that effectively bars Planned Parenthood from receiving public funding.
Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
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