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Local Planned Parenthood affiliates to merge into Great Plains regional organization

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM) on Wednesday announced plans to merge with the organization's central Oklahoma affiliate in July and open a new clinic, the AP/Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

Background

The announcement comes as lawmakers in the three states seek to strip the organization of Medicaid funding (Hanna, AP/Colorado Springs Gazette, 5/25).

In April, the Missouri Legislature passed a $27 billion state budget that would prohibit abortion providers in the state from receiving Medicaid funding (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/26). Separately, Kansas lawmakers in early May passed a measure (SB 248) that would restrict Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning funding from the state (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/2). In Oklahoma, the state Medicaid program this month announced that it is ending its contracts with two Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/5).

Merger details

According to the AP/Gazette, the consolidated organization will be called Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP).

PPKM President and CEO Laura McQuade said the merger is intended to establish a health care "powerhouse" in the region and is not a response to the defunding efforts in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. She added that the merger reflects a 20-year trend of local Planned Parenthood affiliates merging in to larger regional entities.

According to the AP/Gazette, PPGP plans to open a new clinic in Oklahoma City while continuing to operate eight existing clinics throughout the three states. "We will not be doing any downsizing as a result of the merger," McQuade said.

None of the clinics in Missouri or Oklahoma offer abortion care, while one of the two Kansas clinics offers only medication abortion and the second provides both medication abortion and surgical abortion. Regarding whether any Oklahoma clinic will offer abortion care after the merger, PPKM spokesperson Bonyen Lee-Gilmore said, "We're always keeping our options open" (AP/Colorado Springs Gazette, 5/25).