National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Ky. Lawmakers Propose Bill Targeting Title X Funding for Planned Parenthood

A group of conservative lawmakers in Kentucky pre-filed a bill (BR 292) for next year's legislative session that would end Title X funding for two Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

Background

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the state received $5.4 million in Title X funds. The state allocates Title X funds among county health departments to provide low-income patients access to contraception, screenings for breast and cervical cancer, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and testing and counseling services for pregnancy, among other services. Title X funding is not used to cover abortion care, the Herald-Leader reports.

According to KCHFS spokesperson Jill Midkiff, local health departments in Fayette and Jefferson counties contracted with nearby Planned Parenthood clinics to use the funding for Title X services. In the last fiscal year, the Planned Parenthood clinics in Lexington and Louisville received $331,309 in Title X funds.

Bill Details

The bill would prohibit any health clinics that provide "referrals" or "consulting" for abortion from receiving the funding. Neither Planned Parenthood clinic in the state offers abortion services.

State Rep. Lynn Bechler (R) said he proposed the bill in response to a series of videos targeting Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue donation program (Cheves, Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/2). Planned Parenthood this summer submitted a report to Congress that found the misleading videos were manipulated, making them unreliable for official inquiries into the organization (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/27).

Planned Parenthood Responds

Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said the Lexington location in 2014 provided services for 1,345 patients, while the Louisville location provided services for 3,378 patients. "If you unplug birth control for 5,000 patients, it's going to have a big impact ... We're very clear that it would be taking public health policy in the wrong direction for the state of Kentucky and its residents," she said.

Cockrum also countered Bechler's claims that state residents would be able to continue accessing family planning services at other health clinics that receive Title X funding. She noted that the Planned Parenthood clinics are located near public transit, help employed women by offering weekend and extended weekday hours, accept new patients who are covered under Medicaid and raise private funding to help low-income patients. She said, "There aren't other health care providers who are prepared to step up and provide these services" (Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/2).