Court of Appeals says Kansas can’t cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood

By Dave Andrusko

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer

On Wednesday a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals left in place a lower court injunction preventing Kansas from cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood Great Plains which has two centers in Kansas and three in Missouri .

In July 2016, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson’s “wrote that Medicaid patients have ‘the explicit right to seek family planning services from the qualified provider of their choice,’” the Associated Press’s Roxana Hegeman reported on Wednesday.

Kendall Marr, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer’s spokesman, told news outlets in an email that the administration was studying the decision and “considering further legal options. We will continue the fight for life.”

Mr. Colyer officially became Kansas’ 47th governor on January 31 after Gov. Sam Brownback resigned to take a diplomatic post in the Trump administration.

In those few months Colyer has made the defense of unborn life a priority in his administration. For example, last weekend he joined other pro-life Kansan congressional leaders in helping Kansans for Life kick off a $2 million fundraising campaign to amend the Kansas Constitution to make it clear the constitution doesn’t include a so-called “right” to abortion.


In May 2016 then-Gov. Brownback issued an executive order that barred Planned Parenthood from being Medicaid providers. As Kansans for Life wrote at the time

This issue is similar to, but different from, the lawsuit Planned Parenthood lost in 2014 to regain Kansas funding as federal Title X providers. The latter– Title X prioritization of full-service public clinics and hospitals –was put permanently into statute last week in the waning days of the Kansas legislative session.

As Dan Margolies reported in July 2016, “In a May 3 letter to the affiliates, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment cited three grounds for terminating the Medicaid funding:

  • Video evidence that other Planned Parenthood affiliates entered into illegal agreements to procure fetal tissue after abortions.
  • An alleged failure to comply with solid waste disposal inspections.
  • Concerns about Medicaid claims submitted by other Planned Parenthood affiliates in neighboring states.

In her 54-page decision, Judge Robinson wrote that the Planned Parenthood affiliates were likely to prevail on all three claims.

In its ruling the 10th Circuit panel “said states have broad authority to ensure that Medicaid providers are qualified to provide medical services,” according to Bryan Lowry of the Kansas City Star.

“But this power has limits,” the ruling said. “States may not terminate providers from their Medicaid program for any reason they see fit, especially when that reason is unrelated to the provider’s competence and the quality of the healthcare it provides.”

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