TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has delayed cutting off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood a second time and postponed its action against the abortion provider until June 7.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri spokeswoman Bonyen Lee-Gilmore said Wednesday that the state sought another extension to prepare for the first hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging the cutoff and that the delays are sign of how the state's decision is "all political."
"Clearly, there's no public health emergency at play," she said.
Eileen Hawley, spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, said the delays give both sides adequate time to prepare their arguments and the judge time to review them. The latest postponement occurred Tuesday.
The state initially planned to cut off Medicaid funds on Tuesday, but delayed the action until May 24. With the additional delay, a hearing on Planned Parenthood's request for a court order blocking being cut off is scheduled for May 25.
The state health department has cited in its decision to cut Medicaid funding a dispute over a December inspection of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park that was later resolved, and also has pointed to allegations lodged against affiliates in Oklahoma and Texas. Medicaid provides health coverage for the poor, elderly and disabled.
Federal courts have blocked attempts to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in other states, including Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah. But Brownback, a strong abortion opponent, said last week: "I think we're on solid grounds."
Kansas also has blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning dollars for non-abortion services since 2014 through provisions in its annual budgets. Brownback signed a bill Tuesday to make the policy a permanent state law.
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