Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is fighting back in court against the Kansas Legislature and the governor, who stripped the organization of federal family planning funds because of its affiliation with abortion services.
The organization filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to force the state to restore about $330,000 that used to provide birth control and other reproductive health services at clinics in Wichita and Hays.
The Wichita clinic serves about 4,700 clients a year, mostly women but some men, while Hays serves 960, said Peter Brownlie, Planned Parenthood’s president and chief executive officer.
In addition to birth control, the clinics provide screening for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer. They do not provide abortions, though a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park does.
Brownlie said the federal money represents about one-third to one-half of the clinics’ funding. The group intends to keep the clinics open, but loss of the money would likely lead to ending a sliding fee scale that provides care for poor people at lower cost, he said.
The funding comes from the federal government and is administered by the state.
Gov. Sam Brownback, who signed the new provision into law May 28 as part of the budget bill, issued a statement saying he will uphold it.
“The law currently says the plaintiff (Planned Parenthood) does not qualify for public subsidy because of its business practices,” the statement said. “And Kansas taxpayers made it clear they do not wish to underwrite organizations that perform abortions.”
“That’s what makes it absurd and outrageous,” said Brownlie. “If Gov. Brownback and his allies in the legislature were serious about reducing abortions in Kansas, they would work to prevent unintended pregnancies. About half of them result in abortions.”