To the Editor:
The Brownback ideology has taken down one more service to low-income families of Kansas: Planned Parenthood.
The organization is having to close the Hays health center in order to save clinics in Wichita because federal family planning funding through the Title X grant program has been cut by Kansas because the state believes Planned Parenthood provides abortions with Title X money, which is not true.
This did not have to happen, but Kansas intentionally left Planned Parenthood out of agencies receiving funding. Title X, which is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to family planning and reproduc-tive health services for low-income and uninsured patients, has nothing to do with abortion. Cutting Title X funding could actually result in an increase in abortions.
In a study by Guttmacher Institute, family planning ser-vices at Title X-funded clinics helped prevent 973,000 unin-tended pregnancies in 2008, which would have led to more than 400,000 unintended births and more than 400,000 abortions. Without adequate birth control and family planning services, these numbers could easily in-crease, and Planned Parenthood is a provider of these services.
More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood services are preventative and primary care. More than 1 million youth and adults participate in Planned Parenthood education-al programs every year. Title X was enacted under President Nixon in 1970 to provide funding to patients at or below the poverty level. There is a sliding fee scale for low- to moderate-income patients.
The crucial services provided are breast and pelvic exams, Pap smears and other cancer screenings, HIV testing, testing and treatment of sexually trans-mitted diseases, pregnancy test-ing, counseling and afford-able birth control. Again, Planned Parenthood has long been banned from using federal funding for abortions and pro-vides services to prevent them. A National Family and Reproduc-tive Health Association report states that the Title X funding loss hurts a highly effective program that serves more than 5 million men, women and chil-dren annually and has prevented 20 million unintended pregnan-cies and 9 million abortions over the past two decades.
The report further states that every $1 invested saves almost $4 in Medicaid costs for pregnancy-related and newborn care alone. Every citizen of Kansas should ask themselves if we could afford this risk.