The Obama administration is slapping down every state that has acted on the idea that the federal Title X reproductive healthcare program was NOT created to bankroll Planned Parenthood.
A proposed new Health & Human Services(HHS) rule announced last week would nullify state eligibility thresholds (such as Kansas has) that prioritizes Title X grants to full-service medical facilities.
Created in 1970 to help the indigent and uninsured, Title X is federally-dispersed money designed to assist low income-qualifying women for non-abortion reproductive health services, including contraceptives and health screenings. In Kansas, Title X is distributed by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE).
It is good stewardship for the state to allocate financial support to full-service public clinics and hospitals to provide the poor with the full range of well-woman care (not just gynecological services, but nutritional, cardio, mental health, etc.) as well as pediatric and geriatric care for women and men.
Beginning in 2007, Kansas legislators did just that. They annually passed the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso, directing KDHE to prioritize Title X reproductive health care grants to full-service public clinics and hospitals.
Planned Parenthood cannot meet that criteria. It only offers a narrow range of exams and screenings and cannot provide mammograms, chest X-rays, and other essential medical evaluations.
The Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso was repeatedly vetoed by pro-abortion Kansas governors Sebelius and Parkinson until Gov. Sam Brownback’s first year in office, 2011, when it was approved. Planned Parenthood immediately sued.
A district court judge blocked the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso and forced KDHE to continue to pay Planned Parenthood and another clinic roughly one million dollars during litigation. At the time of the ruling, Dr. Robert Moser, who was KDHE head in 2011, said
“Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood. Other providers are already offering a fuller spectrum of health care for Kansas patients. This highly unusual ruling implies a private organization has a right to taxpayer subsidy. The people of Kansas disagree.”
However, after Planned Parenthood lost its legal appeal in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso went into effect in mid-2014. (It was made a permanent law this spring.) The ruling held:
- that Planned Parenthood’s claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit, and
- that Kansas could select mainstream, full-service health care providers as preferred grantees.
If the aim of Title X is truly to help the uninsured and indigent get disease screenings and full reproductive health care, Kansas’ priority of one-stop access at local comprehensive-care medical centers is the right model.
The new HHS proposal eliminates state authority. It should be opposed as an unabashed power play to send our tax-funded Title X money to the nation’s largest abortion business.