- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced Tuesday that he would act to cut off state Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood affiliates and called on state legislators to cement his policy into law.

In his State of the State speech, the Republican governor said he would ask state Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier to “ensure that not a single dollar of taxpayer money goes to Planned Parenthood. I welcome legislation that would enshrine this directive in state law.”

In doing so, Kansas becomes the eighth state to take action to defund Planned Parenthood since last year’s release of hidden-camera videos linking the organization to the sale of fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.

Mr. Brownback said in a Tuesday post on Facebook that, “Trafficking of ‪#‎babybodyparts is antithetical to our belief in human dignity. No more Kansas Medicaid dollars will go to Planned Parenthood.”

Elise Higgins, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, told the Associated Press that the affiliate would fight the governor’s directive. She said state clinics receive about $61,000 per year in reimbursements for health exams, cancer screenings and birth control for poor women.

Planned Parenthood performs abortions at its clinic in Overland Park, a Kansas City suburb, but not at its clinic in Wichita.

“I am disappointed on behalf of the women who rely on us for health care that the governor has chosen to make them his political scapegoat,” Ms. Higgins said.

Planned Parenthood officials have denied profiting from the sale of fetal tissue, saying their clinics have only been reimbursed for costs, which is allowed under federal law.

Casey Mattox, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel, lauded the governor’s decision, saying it would free up money for “more widely available and more comprehensive low-cost healthcare options for women and families in Kansas.”

“The governor is right to end the state’s relationship with an organization undeserving of its money and unworthy of its trust,” Mr. Mattox said in a statement.

This isn’t Mr. Brownback’s first strike at Planned Parenthood: In 2011, the governor signed legislation to stop Planned Parenthood affiliates from receiving federal family-planning dollars through the state health department.

“The time has come to finish the job,” Mr. Brownback said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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