Planned Parenthood Sues Kansas

     KANSAS CITY, Kan. (CN) — Planned Parenthood sued Kansas, claiming its termination of funding was an unconstitutional, politically motivated attack orchestrated by the governor.
     Two Planned Parenthood offices, a doctor, employees and patients filed a federal complaint Wednesday against Susan Mosier, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) .
     They claim the state’s based its termination on discredited videos made by anti-abortion activists; on false claims that Planned Parenthood’s health center in Overland Park failed to cooperate with a solid waste inspection; and other states’ reliance on allegations of fraudulent Medicaid claims by Planned Parenthood in those states.
     “The State’s allegations provide no possible legitimate basis to terminate any of the current or former provider plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states. “Not only are the allegations unfounded, but none relate in any way to PPSLR [Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region] or the eleven individual health care professionals, and certainly not to their ability to provide quality Medicaid services. And the only allegation related to PPKM [Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri] — about KDHE’s inspection of the Planned Parenthood health center in Overland Park — is false and also provides no basis for termination from the Medicaid program.”
     If the cuts go through on May 10, Planned Parenthood says, up to 500 Kansas women and men who depend on its services will be disqualified from basic and preventive care.
     Brownback, a Republican, vowed to kill state funding after the now-debunked videos claimed Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue from abortions. At Brownback’s request, Mosier investigated the Overland Park health center, Planned Parenthood says.
     Brownback is not a defendant.
     “That inspection was completed on January 5, 2016,” the lawsuit states. “Although KDHE now claims that the Overland Park health center failed to cooperate with the inspection, at the completion of the inspection on January 5, BWM [Bureau of Waste Management] inspectors provided the health center with a report which stated that no violations were found.”
     Documents obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request show that KDHE informed the affiliate in March that it planned to end its status as a Medicaid provider. Planned Parenthood unsuccessfully challenged the ruling in an administrative hearing last week.
     Federal courts have blocked attempts to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in other states, including Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah, according to the AP.
     State spokeswoman Cassie Sparks told the AP that the state health department has not seen the lawsuit. The governor’s office did not respond to it, but earlier in the day, spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said Brownback pushed to cut off Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood “to protect the unborn and support a culture of life,” the AP reported.
     The plaintiffs seek an injunction prohibiting the state from blocking its Medicaid funding. The lawsuit was filed by Arthur A. Benson of Benson & Associates in Kansas City, Mo.

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