Kansas should stop fighting courts on Planned Parenthood



December 11, 2018 - 9:58 AM

Once again, the courts have rebutted Kansas’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear arguments by Kansas and Louisiana requesting they be able to deny Medicaid funding for health exams, cancer screenings and birth control, the bulk of services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Medicaid provides health insurance for the indigent and elderly, whose costs are shared by states and the federal government.
While Planned Parenthood is the target in Kansas’s case, the suit applies to any organization that provides women’s health services.
Kansas has only two Planned Parenthood clinics, one in Wichita and the other in a suburb of Overland Park. Only the KC site provides abortions.  
Because no Medicaid funds can be used to fund abortion other than in the case of rape, incest or when a pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, the state’s petition to target Planned Parenthood goes out of its way to be punitive. Why else deny low-income women the right to use its other valuable services?
Because the A-word carries outsized weight and Kansas wanted to make hay on that fact.
For as few people as abortion affects, it carries a disproportionate importance in today’s politics.
So how do we further reduce the rate of abortions?
Make birth control a household word and as accessible as cough drops.
Thanks to the increased prevalence of birth control, the rate of abortions in the United States continues to drop. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the number one reason women seek an abortion is because they lack adequate birth control. Its cost puts it out of reach for many. Sadly, of those receiving abortions in 2014, a full 12 percent were adolescents, according to Gutt-macher.
Such data show why it’s important birth control should be kept affordable as originally intended through the Affordable Care Act, which required health insurance policies to cover its cost. Today, more and more businesses are trying to escape that mandate by claiming “religious” grounds.
For the vast majority of women and men, using birth control does not violate their faith, nor should they be condemned for its practice.

FOR THE PAST eight years, Kansas has sought legal justification in denying its poor and underserved populations access to Planned Parenthood. The most recent case was in February when the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Planned Parenthood is a qualified provider of health services and Kansas cannot indiscriminately ban its services to Medicaid recipients.
The court also found the state guilty of “playing politics” by singling out Planned Parenthood at the risk of denying a valuable service.
Not to be deterred, Kansas took it to the highest court in the land, who, again, said the argument lacks merit.
Would it be too much to ask that we now accept the high court’s ruling, and recognize the value of organizations such as Planned Parenthood instead of trying to manufacture false narratives?
There’s so much we should be fighting for, instead of against.
— Susan Lynn


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