When Gov. Sam Brownback explained his plan to prevent even a single dollar of taxpayer money going to Planned Parenthood, he framed it as “working to protect our most innocent Kansans, the unborn.”

Suggesting the move as yet another piece of pro-life legislation, and one that would “finish the job” — the governor asserted that every life has dignity, beauty and value.

Except, apparently, when it is a low-income woman in need of health care. That is the person affected by taking approximately $61,000 in Medicaid funding away from Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. The organization uses it to provide health exams, wellness care, cancer screenings and birth-control services.

No tax dollars are used to perform abortions. Nor, for that matter, is the group taking fetal parts and selling them for profit.

Don’t take our word for it; nor Planned Parenthood’s. Try the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, which is the licensing and regulatory board for many health care providers in Kansas. Brownback had requested this panel of medical doctors to investigate whether commercial sales of such tissue was taking place in Kansas — and the answer is “no.”

The governor, along with many others in Kansas and throughout the nation, were convinced such a practice was taking place because of videos released last year by an anti-abortion group. Those clips, which contained heavily edited material spliced together from video captured under false pretenses by activists using fake names and asking leading questions in order to produce desired words and phrases, likely will result in criminal prosecutions.

Still, the doctored videos were enough to convince many politicians at the state and federal levels who required no other “proof.” No less than five congressional investigations are ongoing in Washington. Each state that ordered a probe discovers the same thing as Kansas: Nothing wrong is taking place.

The president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, Laura McQuade, said in a statement that the videos created a “toxic” environment and that Brownback “knowingly made false statements.”

We only can hope Kansans understand the utility provided by the rather small amount of fetal tissue that does make its way — legally — into researchers’ laboratories. It saves lives. Millions of lives.

The Planned Parenthood website notes UNICEF estimates 640,000 people do not die from polio every year because of the vaccine developed from human fetal kidney cells during the 1950s. Current research at academic institutions and teaching hospitals across the country are looking at diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries, hemophilia, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, cortical blindness, fetal aneuploidy, ALS and many others.

The research is critical, and credible. The propaganda video was neither, but is attempting to shut down such research when gullible politicians are fooled.

Brownback won’t admit he’s wrong in this situation. It simply isn’t his style.

But it does not mean the Legislature has to go along. There is no justification for any bill to remove funding from Planned Parenthood in Kansas, other than to claim non-existent moral high ground. Rejecting science and low-income Kansas women in favor of a falsified “pro-life” agenda should not find its way into legislation — let alone state law.


Editorial by Patrick Lowry