Gov. Jeff Colyer filed a petition Thursday for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning a ruling that upheld Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.
The Brownback administration moved in 2016 to block state Medicaid funds from being used to reimburse services at Planned Parenthood, but the rule quickly was struck down in U.S. District Court. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in February, citing a part of the Medicaid law that grants patients the right to choose their own family planning service provider.
“Kansas is a pro-life state and Kansans don’t want state dollars being used to support abortion providers,” Colyer said in a statement. “The medical needs of Kansas women will continue to be met by other providers in the Medicaid and KanCare network. We want the Supreme Court to weigh in on this issue and we look forward to the outcome.”
Medicaid funds can’t be used for abortion services but may reimburse cancer screenings, health exams and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment for low-income Kansans covered by Medicaid.
Brandon Hill, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, denounced the petition.
“We are confident that the 10th Circuit’s decision was correct,” Hill said. “The court was the fifth of six circuits to uphold a patient’s right to receive health care from their preferred qualified provider when it ruled that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment could not terminate PPGP from the state’s Medicaid program for extreme, politically-motivated reasons.”
Kansas agencies began investigating Planned Parenthood clinics in the state 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.
At least four of the Supreme Court’s nine justices must vote in favor of reviewing a case for it to be heard.