KS Governor Brownback & Legislative Allies Determined to Block Access to Birth Control

House Reintroduces Defunding & Brownback Tells Women “Go Work Somewhere Else”

Planned Parenthood expressed outrage as Governor Sam Brownback and his legislative allies continued efforts to block Kansas women from accessing birth control. Last week, the House introduced a new Planned Parenthood defunding amendment, and this week on C-SPAN Governor Brownback said women who need birth control should “go work somewhere else.”

The House 2013 budget, HB 2760, introduced last week, contains a provision to make Planned Parenthood ineligible for federal family planning funding to provide affordable birth control, life-saving cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment for low-income patients. It is identical to one passed last year which has been enjoined. Each year, Planned Parenthood serves more than 5,700 different individuals through the Title X program in Kansas, providing more than 3,000 pap tests and 3,000 breast exams, 9,000 birth control visits, and 18,000 STD tests. In August, the court ruled Planned Parenthood is likely to prevail on its claim the defunding provision is unconstitutional and ordered the state to continue funding Planned Parenthood under the Title X program.  Despite the injunction, the Governor and his allies remain determined to keep birth control and basic health care out of reach for Kansas women. 
 
Then, on Monday, Governor Brownback appeared on a C-SPAN call-in show. A woman from Osawatomie called to express her concern about the Governor’s opposition to Affordable Care Act measures requiring insurance companies, not individual employers, to cover birth control for employees of religiously-affiliated institutions. The Governor first misled viewers about the rule, ignoring the fact the rule would only apply to religiously-affiliated institutions which serve the general public, not churches and houses of worship. Brownback then said, “If a woman wants birth control, go work somewhere else.”
 
“The Governor and members of the legislature are determined to deny women access to basic, preventive health care. While Kansas families continue to face economic hardship, the Governor thinks women who want to plan healthy pregnancies or treat medical conditions such as endometriosis should simply ‘go work somewhere else.’ Telling women who need health care to just go find another job is simply outrageous and is not a viable option for working families,” said Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
 
Brownlie continued, “Meanwhile, the state is paying exorbitant sums of taxpayer money to hire expensive, private attorneys to defend the unconstitutional budget amendment passed in 2011, and some members of the legislature are determined to advance their unconstitutional agenda again in 2012.
 
“It is shocking that, in the 21st century, Governor Brownback and members of the legislature continue attacking birth control. Kansans expect our elected officials to attend to the pressing issues of the state, protect the constitutional rights of our citizens, and govern with common sense; instead they continue to put politics before the health of Kansas women and families."

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