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Elections & Politics

BREAKING: Kansas Taxpayers Stuck with $1M Tab for Women’s Health Restrictions

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 01.24.14

Kansas Tops a Growing List of States Facing Hefty Fees for Extreme Agenda

NEW YORK — As state legislatures across the country convene for the 2014 session, taxpayers in several states hostile to women are facing mounting bills from costly legal battles related to dangerous, unconstitutional restrictions on women’s health care.  This week, for example, the Associated Press reported Kansas’ anti-women’s health docket has cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“The Tea Party politicians who promised to rein in state budgets and boost the economy are wasting taxpayer money to jam through unprecedented restrictions on birth control and abortion.  It is appalling that state representatives are wasting taxpayer dollars litigating deeply unpopular restrictions and defending laws that would restrict low-income women’s access to lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control and other preventive health services at Planned Parenthood health centers.

“Politicians have already left Kansans with a million dollar tab for their extreme agenda, but politicians in Topeka appear poised to consider even more restrictions on women’s health this year.

“Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office has reportedly spent $650,000 defending recent Texas laws that harm women’s health including laws that have shut down women’s health centers and barred low income women who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers from accessing preventive health care.

“Arizona has already spent about as much money on legal fees as it spends to provide 3,000 low-income women with birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings and other basic health care at Planned Parenthood Arizona — and now the state has asked the Supreme Court to review the case, which will cost taxpayers even more.

BACKGROUND

According to reporting by the Associated Press, Kansas has paid private law firms more than $1 million to defend anti-abortion laws enacted since 2011.

According to reporting by RH Reality Check, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office has spent nearly $650,000 in taxpayer money on litigation defending extreme restrictions on women’s health.

North Dakota has allocated $400,000, to defend the extreme abortion restrictions enacted in 2013.  This is on top of the tens of thousands of dollars already spent litigating several other abortion restrictions that have been struck down by state courts.  

A case challenging an Arizona law to exclude Planned Parenthood health centers from the state’s Medicaid program has cost taxpayers approximately $279,000 in legal fees alone; in contrast, Planned Parenthood Arizona received about $350,000 in reimbursements for health care for about 3,000 Medicaid patients in 2012.  To date, four federal courts, two trial courts and two courts of appeals have looked at whether states can exclude providers of safe and legal abortion from their Medicaid programs, and all have agreed that federal law prohibits them from doing so.  The Supreme Court denied review of one of these cases in 2013 and yet Arizona has asked the Court to review its case.

  

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.