- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas Senate committee has considered legislation to make permanent a provision that would create a tiered system for family planning funds.

The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1njzyAU ) reports that the bill would prioritize federal funds for family planning services, sending them to state, county and local health departments before abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

The legislation was introduced by 27 Republican senators, a majority of the Senate. All Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee have signed on as bill sponsors.

The tiered system in the bill has been in place for several years. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has blamed it for the closure of Ellis and Ford County clinics.

The Planned Parenthood Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for the regional organization, said the bill hurts low-income women and families in Kansas to push a political agenda.

Under the bill, any grants handled by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and financed partly by Title X, the federal program for family planning services, would be subject to the tiered system. The grants would first be made to public entities, such as health clinic and health departments, and any remaining money would be sent to private health services and hospitals that provide “comprehensive primary and preventative care” in addition to family planning.

The committee didn’t take action on the legislation Wednesday.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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