Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kansas Restricts Abortion, Defunds Planned Parenthood

The Kansas legislature has passed a multi-faceted pro-life bill that cuts Title X funds from Planned Parenthood and excludes automatic abortion coverage from private health care plans and the health insurance exchanges required by federal law to begin in 2014.

For background, read States Will Defund Planned Parenthood

UPDATE 3/26/14: Federal Appeals Court OKs Kansas Defunding Planned Parenthood

UPDATE 8/30/11: Federal judge orders Kansas to restore funding to Planned Parenthood temporarily

UPDATE 8/16/11: ACLU sues state of Kansas over limits on abortion insurance

UPDATE 8/1/11: Federal judge temporarily blocks Kansas law defunding Planned Parenthood

UPDATE 7/1/11: Federal judge stops new regulations from closing 2 of the state’s 3 abortion clinics

UPDATE 6/27/11: Planned Parenthood Defunded by More States

-- From "Kansas governor signs new restrictions on abortion clinics into law" by John Hanna, The Associated Press 5/16/11

Kansas will require annual, unannounced inspections of abortion clinics, impose new health and safety rules specifically for them and prevent them from using telemedicine systems to dispense pregnancy-terminating drugs under legislation signed Monday by Gov. Sam Brownback.

Along with mandating annual inspections, the new law directs the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to write standards for exits, lighting, bathrooms and equipment. The department would issue annual licenses, have the power to fine clinics and could go to court to shut them down.

The law comes with new rules for administering abortion-inducing medications, such as RU-486. Only a licensed physician will be allowed to provide the drug in the presence of the patient. Clinics won’t be allowed to dispense such drugs to patients at faraway sites through telemedicine systems.

“In order to make money doing abortions, they have to do a lot of them. Medical regulations slow them down,” said Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life. “Anything we could do to require the clinics to care more about women than about their profit margins is a good thing.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Analysis: Unusual process saves Kan. abortion plan" by John Hanna, The Associated Press 5/16/11

. . . The resulting bill will ban insurance companies from automatically covering abortions in their health plans, except when a woman's life is at risk. The prohibition also will apply to insurance exchanges set up under last year's federal health care law. Women or employers who want the coverage will have to buy separate, abortion-only policies.

Supporters argue that the bill protects the "conscience rights" of employers who want to offer health insurance for workers but oppose abortion. They contend some employers pay for abortion coverage without knowing it -- or don't have the clout to avoid the coverage otherwise.

Critics argue the goal is limiting access to abortion by blocking a way for poor and middle-class women to pay for it. A routine first-trimester abortion typically costs between $400 and $700; the cost for procedures done later can run thousands of dollars.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Kansas cuts Planned Parenthood funding" posted at Catholic News Agency 5/17/11

HB 2075 requires that over $300,000 in Title X federal money will go to local full-service health clinics instead of Planned Parenthood. It will also put $300,000 into a grant-matched fund for pregnancy maintenance and adoption counseling.

Under the Kansas law, private health insurance plans will only cover abortions done to save the life of the mother. Kansas insurers may still offer abortion coverage, but through individually purchased riders that cost about $2, the Associated Press says.

Kansans for Life said the restriction makes sense because pregnancy is not a disease and abortion is not health care. Many businesses have objected to paying for elective abortions in the health plans they purchase for their employees.

Seven other states limit abortion in private health insurance plans.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Indiana Squeezes Obama in Abortion Battle via Medicaid