TOPEKA — A federal appeals court Wednesday rejected Kansas’ attempt to cut off state Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood under former Gov. Sam Brownback.
Brownback’s administration moved in 2016 to prevent any state Medicaid funds from being used to reimburse services at Planned Parenthood, a rule quickly struck down by a U.S. District Court. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, citing a part of the Medicaid law, which grants patients the right to choose their own family planning service provider.
Medicaid funds cannot be used for abortion services, but could reimburse cancer screenings, health exams and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment for low-income Kansans covered by Medicaid.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO Brandon Hill praised the court’s decision in a news release as “a huge win for Kansas Medicaid patients who know and trust” the organization.
“Kansas’ termination of (Planned Parenthood Great Plains’) Medicaid contract was baseless and politically motivated,” Hill said. “The 10th Circuit’s decision sends a strong message that state officials should not play politics with Medicaid or the health care and well-being of Kansans.”
The appeals court is the fifth to strike down similar laws.
Kansas agencies began investigating Planned Parenthood clinics in Kansas after a widely denounced video portended to show national Planned Parenthood leaders negotiating prices for fetal tissue. Kansas issued notices to Planned Parenthood in 2016 that it would terminate Medicaid contracts with the organization out of concern over its cooperation in inspections, billing practices and the anti-abortion group’s video.
Kansans For Life, an anti-abortion group in the state, did not immediately return a request for comment.