Governor vetoes provision blocking funds to Planned Parenthood

TOPEKA – Gov. Mark Parkinson excised a provision in the state’s wrap up budget that would have prevented Planned Parenthood from receiving money for non-abortion family planning services.

He approved the remaining majority of the Senate substitute House Bill 2373.

Planned Parenthood last year received about $300,000 of the money, which are federal funds that the state administers.

“Regardless of one’s views on whether abortion should be allowed in this country, hopefully we can all agree that we should make every effort to prevent unplanned pregnancies,” wrote the governor in his veto message. “Access to affordable family planning services and contraceptives is critical if we are to continue reducing the number of abortions that occur in this state.”

State Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, inserted the provision into the omnibus budget bill during the Legislature’s wrap-up session earlier this month. Both chambers passed the bill including the provision.

While the money cannot be used for abortions, Huelskamp proposed blocking the funds because the Planned Parenthood does offer abortion services, he said in a release when the budget bill passed.

Parkinson, a Democrat, noted in his veto message that the group was eligible under the federal grant to receive the money, so the state could not block the funds.

For more details on the veto and the budget, read Saturday’s Wichita Eagle.

Below is the full veto message from Parkinson:

Section 89 has been line-item vetoed in its entirety:

“Regardless of one’s views on whether abortion should be allowed in this country, hopefully we can all agree that we should make every effort to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Access to affordable family planning services and contraceptives is critical if we are to continue reducing the number of abortions that occur in this state.

“This section would prohibit distribution of Title X moneys to private family planning providers unless they are either a hospital or provide comprehensive primary and preventative care in addition to family planning services. This proviso would prevent funding for two facilities of other eligible family planning providers. These facilities do not perform abortions, and by law, Title X funding cannot be used for abortion services.

“Both of these facilities provide affordable access to contraceptives and family planning services for women who are significantly below the poverty level. These women are most at risk for unplanned pregnancies. The family planning services provided by these facilities help lower the likelihood of unplanned pregnancy, and thus reduce abortions. Eliminating funding for programs intended to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies does nothing to help reduce abortions in Kansas.

“I am also concerned this proviso violates Title X of the Public Service Act. The facilities ineligible for funding under this proviso are, by law, eligible under Title X to receive the grants. The Public Service Act is clear that states are not permitted to refuse the award of Title X funding to entities that meet the statutory requirements for the grants. I therefore find it necessary to line-item veto this proviso.”