Government & Politics

Colyer wants to take Kansas' fight with Planned Parenthood to the U.S. Supreme Court

Gov. Jeff Colyer
Gov. Jeff Colyer File photo

Gov. Jeff Colyer wants to take Kansas’ fight with Planned Parenthood to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Colyer’s predecessor, Sam Brownback, tried to cut off the state’s Medicaid dollars from going to Planned Parenthood for breast exams, birth control and other services in 2016.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that Kansas lacked the authority to block dollars from going to a medical provider "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.”

Colyer announced Thursday that the state will appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court.

Much like his predecessor, he based the move on the fact that Planned Parenthood also provides abortion services, which are not paid for by Medicaid dollars.

Anti-abortion demonstrators protest outside Planned Parenthood in Overland Park Saturday

“Kansas is a Pro-Life state and Kansans don’t want state dollars being used to support abortion providers,” he said in a statement. “The medical needs of Kansas women will continue to be met by other providers in the Medicaid and KanCare network. We want the Supreme Court to weigh in on this issue and we look forward to the outcome.”

Brandon Hill, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, noted in a statement that five of six circuit courts have ruled "to uphold a patient’s right to receive health care from their preferred qualified provider."

He said that Kansas "should focus on increasing access to the basic health care services that we provide, not on stripping away that critical care from the most vulnerable Kansans."

Brownback, who is now the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, based his decision to cut off funding on a widely disputed video produced by the anti-abortion group Centers for Medical Progress.

The video purported to show evidence that Planned Parenthood was engaging in the illegal sale of human tissue, an allegation that Colyer repeated Thursday when he announced plans to appeal the case.

Hundreds carried signs and chanted as they showed their support of Planned Parenthood Saturday morning outside its clinic in Overland Park. The rally also drew anti-abortion demonstrators who want the federal government to strip Planned Parenthood

The video has been heavily criticized as deceptively edited and the two videographers who created it face multiple felony charges in California.

Rachel Sweet, the regional director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said "Colyer’s insistence on bringing up the discredited videos... is proof of the political motivations of this sustained attack on basic health care."

The announcement comes at a time when Colyer is locked in a tough fight for the Republican nomination for governor with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has touted his anti-abortion credentials on the campaign trail.

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