By Dave Andrusko
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has filed suit in federal court, challenging a portion of the 2012 Kansas state budget that directs that family planning services financed in any way under “Title X” federal rules must be contracted primarily with public health clinics and secondarily with qualified non-public hospitals or health centers that provide comprehensive health care–primary and preventative.
Planned Parenthood argues that the provision violates its right to free speech and legal due process. The organization told reporters that it expects the budget provision to cost it about $331,000, up to one-third to half of the clinics’ budgets in Hays and Wichita, according to Peter Brownlie, local president of Planned Parenthood.
The lawsuit named Gov. Sam Brownback and Robert Moser, secretary of health and environment. The governor was undeterred.
“The law currently says the plaintiff does not qualify for public subsidy because of its business practices, and Kansas taxpayers have made it clear they do not wish to underwrite organizations that perform abortions,” Brownback said. “We will uphold the law.”
State Rep. Lance Kinzer told the Kansas City Star, “the Legislature set up reasonable parameters for distributing the money to social service agencies, such as county health departments, that aren’t involved in abortion. The budget measure ‘is consistent with the general will of the people in Kansas.’”
He added, “Frankly, I think Planned Parenthood will continue to fight to have its ideology subsidized by taxpayers as long as they think they can prevail.”
In addition to the budget, the Kansas legislature passed multiple pro-life laws this session. One of them tightened abortion clinic regulations.
Kansas hospitals, single-day surgical centers and private physician offices that do elective abortions must obtain an annual license, based on completed inspection and one additional unannounced inspection by Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Each abortion must be performed by a state-licensed physician with local hospital privileges within 30 miles. Ultrasound is required, not optional, prior to an abortion and the woman may obtain a hard copy of the image. In addition abortions by pills must be administered by, or in the presence of, a state-licensed physician.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri was inspected last week and “awaits word from the state about whether it will receive a license to continue performing abortions after Friday in Kansas,” according to Associated Press reporter John Hanna. A Kansas City, Kansas, abortion clinic — one of three in the state — already has been told it will not be licensed.
In addition, Kansas also enacted The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Abortions of unborn children who are capable of feeling pain are no longer legal in Kansas. The only exception is for an authentic life-threatening physical condition. (HB 2218). Kansas joins Nebraska, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Alabama as states which have passed this legislation based on a model provided by the National Right to Life Department of State Legislation.
INSURANCE & ABORTION
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)–ObamaCare–requires states to operate and maintain “health insurance exchanges” by 2014. However there is specific language in the PPACA that allows States to affirmatively prohibit coverage of abortions under the qualified health plans offered through the exchanges. The language of HB 2075 prevents any future ‘ObamaCare’ state health exchanges from including abortion coverage in Kansas.
In addition private health insurance may not cover abortions except for authentic “life-of-the-mother” situations. Insurers may offer individually-purchased riders for abortion.
Blue Cross of Kansas City long ago implemented this abortion exclusion in private plans across the state line in eastern Kansas, because Missouri passed this law in 1983. Seven other states limit abortion in private health insurance plans.
ABORTIONS & PARENTAL RIGHTS
“The Parental Consent Law requires both parents of intact families to consent to their daughter’s abortion if she is under 18,” according to Dr. Alan Hansen, who is the Kansas Representative on the National Right to Life Board. The court “bypass” of this consent has been altered to prevent it from “rubberstamping” the minor girl’s claim she is mature enough or that involving her parent(s) is against her interest. The bypassing judge may engage additional evaluation and is required to report suspected child abuse to the proper authorities. The pregnant woman and her family have a stronger standing to sue for illegal late-term abortions. (HB 2035)