Planned Parenthood sues the state over defunding legislation

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is fighting back in court against the state Legislature and the governor, who took action this year to strip the organization of federal family planning funds because of its affiliation with abortion services.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit today seeking to force the state to restore about $330,000 in funding 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.

Brownlie said the money represents about one-third to one-half of the clinics’ funding. While the group intends to keep the clinics open, loss of the money would likely lead to ending the facilities pay-as-able sliding fee scale for services, he said.

The state law cutting the funding does not name Planned Parenthood, but denies funding to private groups that are associated with providing abortions or advocating for abortion rights.

During debate in the House, advocates said the purpose is to prevent opponents of abortion from indirectly supporting abortions with their tax dollars.

Neither the Wichita nor Hays clinics provide abortions, but Planned Parenthood operates facilities in the Kansas City area that provide both surgical and pill-induced abortions.

The Wichita and Hays facilities will provide referrals to abortion providers, prenatal care or adoption agencies, based on the client’s preference of how to proceed with a pregnancy, Brownlie said.

The local clinics have been receiving funds under the federal Title 10 program for more than 25 years, he said.