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Posts Tagged ‘Title X family planning funds’

pp-bkgd-obamaThe 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:

  1. that Planned Parenthood’s claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit, and
  2. 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.

HHS is open to public input on the proposal through Oct. 7. Sign the KFL petition  to HHS today.

 

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baby SImon Crosier died to a secret DNR

Baby Simon died due to a secret DNR order

The Kansas Senate has approved two pro-life bills: SB 437, Simon’s Law, and SB 436, prioritizing public clinics for Title X money that Planned Parenthood had claimed in 2011 was “theirs.”

The Senate passed both bills provisionally Monday with a final vote tally for both scheduled for Tuesday.UPDATE, State Legislative website error corrected Tues. 7pm: Final tally: SB 437,Simon’ s Law, passed 37-3 and SB 436 passed 32-8.

Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) was bill carrier for Simon’s Law, adopted from a measure originally filed in Missouri. Simon’s Law would:

  • prevent children from being denied life-sustaining care through DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders issued without parental knowledge or permission; and
  • require hospitals and medical facilities with policies about withholding life-sustaining treatment to disclose such policies upon request.
Sen. LaTurner

Sen. LaTurner, pro-life bill carrier

“I think this is a very good piece of legislation, very necessary to make sure that this doesn’t happen to any children in the future in the state of Kansas,” LaTurner said, after detailing the in-hospital death of baby Simon Crosier, using the words of his mother, Sheryl Crosier.

Kansans for Life had presented a collection of tragic accounts of how medically-fragile children were harmed –or  had died!– due to “secret” DNRs.  See personal testimonies and blog posts, here and here.

Simon’s Law does not criminalize any actions of doctors or hospitals; it merely sets in law the same process already in state statute for guardians when life-sustaining care is threatened to be denied to their wards.

During Monday’s floor debate, consternation about the bill came only from pro-abortion regulars, Sen. Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka) and Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) who are each married to Kansas physicians. (No current Kansas senators are physicians or nurses by profession.)

Sen. Schmidt opened her comments on the floor by asking if, under Simon’s Law, a child in an emergency room must be kept alive if he/she had arrived without a parent. The answer was, certainly, yes! And isn’t that what every parent should be able to assume will happen? Yet Sen. Schmidt found it troubling!

Sen. Schmidt

anti-life Sen. Vicki Schmidt

Schmidt also tried to raise fears that foster parents or the state family agency would be unworkable as petitioners. However. the protocol to petition the court on behalf of a child in need of treatment, applies smoothly for those “acting in the place of” parents. Thus was the sum of her objection to Simon’s Law

To explain why no entity opposed Simon’s Law, Sen. Kelly made a false claim that “the process for it was too rushed,” with only one day’s notice given for the March 3rd hearing –thus prohibiting all stakeholders from testifying. That was both absurd and provably false!

  1. There’s a myriad of medical interest lobbyists at the Capitol who learned on Feb 10 that Simon’s Law was in process and had plenty of time to prepare testimony.
  2. Moreover, KFL records show the Senate Health committee secretary specifically notified all committee members (including Kelly) and 50 other interested parties on Feb 23–not March 2 as Kelly claimed–about the Simon’s Law hearing.

HOSPITALS HIDING
Sen. Kelly said that Children’s Mercy Hospitals in Kansas City, MO and St. Louis. MO, as well as the SMS Missouri health network had opposed the Missouri version of Simon’s Law, and had discussed their concerns with her. However, the superficial medical opposition to the Missouri version has seemed to evaporate toward the Kansas version, perhaps due to clarifying definitions and conflict protocols from KFL not in the original Missouri version.

On the Senate floor, Health & Public Welfare chairman, Sen. Michael O’Donnell (R-Wichita), rebutted Sen. Kelly’s claims of “committee process abuse”and said none of her named entities–or any other party– has ever yet to contact him with concerns. Most observers realized Kelly’s claim of abuse of process was a weak attempt to excuse why she will be passing on tomorrow’s final vote.

The unique situation in which a Kansas pro-life bill has gone unchallenged in committee may actually reflect reluctance by physicians and hospitals to state openly:

  • their unwillingness to relinquish sole control over DNRs, as well as
  • prove that a pernicious medical elitism and bias exists toward patients they believe are not “worthy” of living.
Sen. Ostmeyer

pro-life Sen. Ostmeyer

Pro-life Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer (R-Grinnell) alluded to physicians who issue DNRs in order to “put parents (not the child) out of their misery.” Sen. Ostmeyer insisted parents deserve to make the final call, adding,”Don’t let the doctor play God.”

PLANNED PARENTHOOD FUNDING ATTEMPT
The second bill passed is SB 436, which targets Title X contracts to provide comprehensive care to the indigent.  (see KFL blogs here and here and KFL testimony)

Kansas’s right to prioritize full-service providers was upheld in 2014 by federal appellate court after Planned Parenthood sued the budget allotment —and lost.

In Kansas, federal Title X reproductive health funds go first to full-service facilities, mainly public health clinics, and then public hospitals. The Kansas legislature has annually budgeted for this since 2011 (after 4 years of pro-abortion governor vetoes).

The point of SB 436 is to make permanent in statute what has been an annual budget item. On behalf of her 26 Senate co-sponsors, Sen. Caryn Tyson (R-Parker) was the bill carrier.

As she had attempted in committee, abortion supporter, Sen. Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) once again tried to amend SB 436 to create a new revenue stream for Planned Parenthood. The amendment failed.

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Senate committee chairmen O’Donnell & Masterson expedited pro-life bill hearings

Pro-life Senate chairmen,  O’Donnell & Masterson

Pro-life Senate Public Health & Welfare chair, Mike O’Donnell (R-Wichita) and Senate Ways & Means chair, Ty Masterson (R-Andover) expedited committee passage of 2 pro-life Kansas bills this week.

On Wednesday, March 9, the Senate Public Health & Welfare committee passed Simon’s Law, SB 437, a bill addressing parental rights and life-sustaining treatment for minors.

Only one committee member, Sen, Laura Kelly (D-Topeka), voted against passage. Sen. Kelly complained that medical opposition had NOT come forward to oppose this eminently reasonable and protective bill!

Simon’s Law was named for a baby, Simon Crosier, who was allowed to die due to a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) medical order issued without knowledge or permission of his parents; they believe Simon was discriminated against due to his Trisomy 18 condition.

Simon Crosier & parents

Simon Crosier & parents

Kansans for Life brought the committee many compelling testimonials from other families whose medically fragile children were harmed and/or denied medical resuscitation– due to negative “quality of life” value judgments from physicians and hospitals. Simon’s Law will do two important things:

  1.  prevent any medical facility or practitioner from secretly placing a DNR order for children under 18 years of age without written consent of at least one parent or guardian.
  2. require that, upon request, a facility must disclose any existing written policy on denial of life-sustaining treatment.

The Senate Public Health & Welfare committee added clarifying language defining futile care and a process for DNR conflict resolution. The full Senate is expected to vote on Simon’s Law within days.

BILL THAT PLANNED PARENTHOOD HATES

Anti-life Senators Kelly & Francisco

Anti-life Senators Kelly & Francisco

On Tuesday, March 8, the Senate Ways & Means Committee passed out a pro-life bill that would make permanent the way the state health department, KDHE, assigns grants using Title X federal funding.

SB 436 codifies the original 2007 Huelskamp-Kinzer proviso, prioritizing comprehensive care facilities as Title X recipients. The proviso was annually passed– but line-item vetoed– until signed into law in 2011 under Gov. Sam Brownback.

Planned Parenthood sued in 2011 to get that Title X money which it no longer qualified for. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied their claim in 2014. The ruling vindicated Kansas, and what former KDHE secretary, Robert Moser, had maintained: “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.

SB 436 prioritizes that full-service public clinics and hospitals are first in line for Title X reproductive-services money. Remaining money is secondarily prioritized to private, full-service clinics and hospitals. The measure strengthens local ‘safety net’ health clinics.

The Senate Ways & Means committee passed SB 436 with Senator Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) as the only no vote. This bill is also expected to get a vote from the full Senate in short order.

During committee action, Sen. Francisco, with support from Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka), had offered an amendment to SB 436 that would have created a brand new KDHE funding stream for Planned Parenthood! The committee soundly defeated that amendment.

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sam KFL photo

Gov. Brownback

In an upbeat state-of the state address Tuesday evening, Gov. Sam Brownback said, “We have become the shining city on the hill and the champions for life.”  The  pro-life excerpts from the speech are here.

Gov. Brownback has asked for a change in the judicial selection method for the State Supreme Court which aligns with KFL’s top legislative priority this year.

KFL opposes the secretive deliberations that choose Kansas Supreme Court justices. Any change in selection method must be approved first by 2/3 of the House and Senate and then gain the assent of the public on the the 2016 ballot.

Brownback supports dumping the current selection method in his speech:“The Legislature should put before Kansas voters a proposed Constitutional amendment for a more democratic selection process for our Supreme Court justices. Kansas is the only state in the country where the selection of Supreme Court justices is controlled by a handful of lawyers.[and]…removes the people of Kansas from the process of selecting judges.”

As an example of an unprincipled judiciary, a Kansas district court has issued a temporary injunction on the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act and declared a right to abortion exists in Kansas’ pre-Civil War constitution! Kansans now await a ruling from the State Court of Appeals –at any time– on that injunction.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEFUNDING
no PPWhat  the mainstream media took note of was the Governor’s announcement on Planned Parenthood. “Today, I am directing [KDHE] Secretary Susan Mosier to ensure that not a single dollar of taxpayer money goes to Planned Parenthood through our Medicaid program I welcome legislation that would enshrine this directive in state law.”

In the Associated Press coverage, the lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri said that $61,000 was at stake and that they intend to fight for it. Medicaid provision for low-income health is jointly subsidized by federal and state monies.

Under Gov. Brownback, Kansas has already insured that $370,000.00 in annual Title X reproductive health money for low-income patients is prioritized to full-service public clinics and hospitals. Planned Parenthood–failing to meet those qualifications– challenged this annually renewed prioritization in court and lost at the federal appellate level.

Brownback received extended applause last night after this segment of the speech: “In 2011, I signed legislation stopping most taxpayer funding from going to Planned Parenthood.  The time has come to finish the job. Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of baby body parts is antithetical to our belief in human dignity.

The AP also quoted Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, as promising to defend withholding this funding from Planned Parenthood.

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U.S. Senators Roberts & Moran

U.S. Senators Roberts & Moran

Although the major TV networks didn’t tell the public, Thursday night was historic for pro-lifers. That was when, for the first time ever, the United States Senate passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. HR 3762 also dismantles large chunks of Obamacare.

HR 3762 passed 52-47 under a process called “reconciliation,” allowing a bill to pass by a simple 51-vote majority, without the possibility of a filibuster requiring 60 votes for passage.

Kansas U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran supported the bill and did not vote for either of two hostile amendments, which were narrowly averted.

National Right to Life, the nation’s largest pro-life organization, applauded approval of the bill,

which will block approximately 89% of all federal funding to Planned Parenthood – about $400 million in the next year. The amounts denied to Planned Parenthood are reallocated to community health centers.

Because of changes made by the Senate, the House of Representatives must approve the bill before it reaches the desk of President Barack Obama, who will undoubtedly veto it.

Legislative director for National Right to Life, Douglas Johnson said, “While this bill faces the implacable opposition of President Barack Obama, it blazes a trail that can be followed to victory in the future – once we have a pro-life president.”

The bill would close the largest pipeline for federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Medicaid, and apply as well to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Title V and Title XX block grant programs.

Based on data from their own annual report from 2013-2014, nearly one in eight women walking through the door of a Planned Parenthood clinic has an abortion. A background memo from National Right to Life is available here, which addresses the fallacious claim that abortion comprises only 3% of Planned Parenthood business.

KANSAS BEATS PLANNED PARENTHOOD
In Kansas, Planned Parenthood of Kansas- Mid Missouri (PPKMM) no longer receives federal reproductive health grants under Title X—which (in 2011) amounted to more than one third of a million dollars annually. Kansas instead sends those funds to full-service clinics and hospitals, under a pro-life state budget provision that was repeatedly vetoed until Sam Brownback became governor.

After three years in litigation, Planned Parenthood lost its court challenge to the measure at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Following that blow, they closed their Hays clinic, which referred for–but did not perform– abortions. Currently, PPKMM operates one Wichita abortion-referring clinic and an Overland Park abortion-performing clinic.

Planned Parenthood also lost its legal challenge in federal district court to a KFL-sponsored bill passed in 2013, the Pro-Life Protections Act. Under the law, all Kansas abortion clinics must feature a live link on their website homepage that offers fetal development information from the Kansas health department, KDHE.

More and more, citizens—through their elected officials– are refusing to partner with the nation’s largest abortion business.

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KDHEContrary to an editorial blast today from the Lawrence Journal World, and an Associated Press story last Friday, Kansas is not suffering a permanent loss of federal assistance for reproductive health services. Open record information requested by Kansans for Life shows:

that the state’s Title X funding exceeds what it was during the last year when Planned Parenthood was getting part of it under court order.

The Title X award for Kansas in fiscal year 2016 is $2,472,000, just slightly higher than its award of $2,471,250 in 2014.

First, a little background. 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).

Any licensed physician can do the elementary exams and blood draws covered under Title X; it is certainly not anything for which Planned Parenthood is uniquely capable.

It also is good stewardship for the state to allocate financial support for medical facilities that 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 both sexes.

KANSAS PRIORITIZES FULL SERVICE
Since 2007, the Kansas legislature had tried to insure that full-service health entities, especially public clinics, received Title X funding.  To accomplish that goal, the legislature annually passed a budget instruction– called a proviso– which prioritized Title X grants to full-service medical facilities.

However, pro-abortion governors Sebelius and Parkinson annually vetoed that proviso so that Planned Parenthood would not be disqualified from accessing the Title X funds.

The proviso for prioritizing Title X grants was finally signed into law under pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback in 2011. Planned Parenthood then challenged it in federal court.

While litigation ensued, Judge Thomas Marten ordered that Title X funding be guaranteed, not only to the plaintiff (Planned Parenthood clinics in Wichita and Hays) but also to an  independent Dodge City Family Planning (DCFP) clinic!

That judge-ordered temporary payment to three financially-failing businesses is what the AP story references as a “$370,000.00 loss.” And despite this judicial “monetary lifeline”  to all three limited-service businesses (in violation of the proviso), the small DCFP clinic closed and both Planned Parenthood clinics remained deeply in the red.

KANSAS WINS CONTROL
In March of 2014, the Kansas Title X prioritization proviso was upheld as valid by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Planned Parenthood dropped their legal challenge and accepted that both clinics were no longer eligible for Title X in Kansas.

Subsequently, the 2015 Kansas Title X federal award was reduced by $229,950, a one time adjustment after the two Planned Parenthood clinics were removed from the Kansas grantee eligibility.

The 2016 Title X funding federal award, in effect as of July 1, exceeds the 2014 award. In other words, the current award is just above our state’s pre-litigation amount.

Back to the AP story that has been generating headlines. The meme that Kansas is being denied Title X funding and that women are therefore underserved is unsubstantiated. The assessment relies on a self-serving claim by Planned Parenthood and a suggestion by the Sedgwick County Health Department Director that, “People have fewer places to go, and for those with limited means that may make utilizing those services even more difficult.”

Fewer places? Only 2 limited service medical clinics have closed: DCFP and the Hays Planned Parenthood clinic. KDHE funds 47 facilities under Title X.

Any speculation about how health care decisions are being made –without examining the effects of the initiation of Obamacare, the HHS contraceptive mandate, and other changes in Medicaid– are without solid factual basis at this point.

The bottom line is that tax funding belongs to true, full-service medical providers–not as a subsidy to a private chain of abortion providers.

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pp money (2)A three-member panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals today overturned a Kansas federal district court ruling that Planned Parenthood was unfairly disfavored and penalized by a 2011 funding authorization. The case was sent back to Judge J. Thomas Marten, who had remarked that he expected to be overruled in this matter.

The case stems from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri on behalf of their Kansas abortion-referral facilities in Wichita and Hays. Both clinics became ineligible to receive Title X federal family planning funding when the state enacted an annually-renewed proviso that such money go to full-service public health clinics and hospitals.

Planned Parenthood claimed they would be “irreparably damaged” without “its” Title X funding. However, Dr. Robert Moser, head of the state health department that selects recipient facilities, described Title X funds as belonging to the state taxpayers, remarking that, “Title X was not intended to be an entitlement program for Planned Parenthood.”

The appeals panel ruled that

Planned Parenthood lacked standing to pursue its claims in federal court, and that its claim of a First Amendment violation lacked merit.

Planned Parenthood had argued that they were losing out on money due to impermissible “anti-abortion” animosity from the legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback. But the Kansas proviso doesn’t mention anything about providing or supporting abortion; it merely prioritizes that Title X grants go to local health department clinics.

Planned Parenthood also claimed that the state could not impose additional requirements for facilities to obtain Title X funding–in this case, maximizing use of a federal grant program to support health care for the poor. Court documents revealed that women at or below poverty level comprised merely 15% of Planned Parenthood’s Kansas clients, while

similarly economically disadvantaged women comprised 78% of those served by the health department in Wichita, which would have received the Title X grants.

Judge Marten ruled in August 2011 that the Kansas health department must continue to fund two Planned Parenthood businesses while litigation continued. In October of 2011, he ordered additional funding to another family planning clinic in western Kansas, which closed 14 months later. To date, at least $400,000 has been paid out to those three clinics by Marten’s order.

In the last three years, abortion advocates and clinics have sued four Kansas pro-life measures:

  1. Kansas won the first lawsuit, challenging a 2011 law that excludes elective abortion from private health insurance coverage without a “rider.”
  2. Kansas has won the appeal (today) that Planned Parenthood had no standing to sue in federal court for perceived discrimination in Title X eligibility.
  3. An abortion-friendly state judge has stalled litigation on the 2011 pro-life abortion clinic licensure law, under injunction.
  4. Abortion interests failed to block the comprehensive 2013 Pro-Life Protections Act with the exception of two tiny provisions which are being addressed.

Kansas pro-life legislation is well-drafted and being defended by talented attorneys working for the state Attorney General.

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