The law signed on Thursday by President Trump allowing states to cut off family-planning funding to Planned Parenthood won’t have an immediate effect on the organization’s affiliates in Missouri and Kansas.
That’s because Kansas barred Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X family planning funds several years ago — a move later upheld by a federal appeals court.
And Title X funds continue to flow to Planned Parenthood’s affiliates in Missouri because the Missouri Family Health Council, not the state, is the recipient of the funds. The council in turn makes the funds available to Planned Parenthood.
About 4 million people nationwide are served by Title X family planning services covering birth control, pregnancy care, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal care, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. About 1.5 million receive those services from Planned Parenthood.
“This is an attack, again, right from the get-go, from the Trump administration, that’s about attacking health care, attacking women, attacking low-income communities who need critical access to these services,” Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, told KCUR “Up to Date” host Steve Kraske on Friday.
Because the law signed by Trump only gives states the option to withhold Title X funds from Planned Parenthood, the status quo remains in place.
“Nothing has happened to implement this rule currently in Kansas and Missouri,” McQuade said.
The law, which Congress passed last month – Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote – upends a regulation enacted at the end of the Obama administration that prohibited states from withholding federal family planning funds from organizations because they provide abortion services.
Federal law already prohibits the use of family planning funds for abortions.
Kansas has also attempted to cut off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursements, its other source of federal funds. Last year, citing its supposed failure to comply with an inspection and highly edited videos shot by an anti-abortion group purporting to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue for profit, the state notified the organization that it would eliminate its participation in the Medicaid program. Planned Parenthood sued to block the move and a federal court granted its request for a preliminary injunction. The case is pending.
McQuade said that while Planned Parenthood’s Kansas affiliates don’t currently receive Title X funds, the new law “may make it more difficult to apply for Title X dollars in Kansas in the future.”
McQuade’s organization operates clinics in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. It currently receives about $700,000 a year in Title X funds, less than 5 percent of its overall budget.
Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. Follow him on Twitter: @DanMargolies.