The State of Kansas has a health care crisis that it should be addressing, but instead the Brownback administration is tied up restricting women’s access to low cost birth control and abortion care. The crisis that I refer to is this fact according to the latest data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation:
Kansas dropped to 40th in the country in infant mortality, and to worst in the nation for African-American infant mortality, said Christie Appelhanz, vice president of public affairs of Kansas Action for Children in Topeka.
Ms. Appelhanz explains:
We have to invest in our kids. We need to be protecting the crucial supports — nutrition, early education, college savings — anything we can do to be sure kids are growing up healthy. I think it’s important that children have access to food stamps, quality education such as Head Start and Early Head Start and workforce development.
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Governor Brownback’s budget, which he unveiled in January 2011, drew much criticism due to drastic cuts proposed for Head Start in Kansas. Their funding remained uncertain through the entire legislative session, until, after much public criticism it was finally restored. But the problem doesn’t begin and end with Head Start funding.
This administration is also upending the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS). This agency is responsible for child protective services, child support enforcement, and child, adult and family well being services within the state of Kansas. The state was on track to close 9 service centers citing agency cost savings. Public outcry has prevented one of those closures. The City Council of Lawrence, Kansas has agreed to pick up the state’s tab and fund their own office to serve the most needy within their community. Yet, somehow the administration believes this agency can afford new and expensive “faith based initiatives” programs. For example, chief of staff Jeff Kahrs is making $100,000 a year in a new position. A deputy secretary leading a new faith-based initiative, Anna Pilato, is making $97,500.
They can also afford $13,000 closed door meetings to discuss their new push for faith programs within the state, where it was decided that polygamy is more in line with traditional values than same sex marriage. Our Governor also is comfortable with applying for a $6.6 million dollar grant to promote marriage, while rejecting federal money for health care reform within our state and proceeding with the SRS office closures.
Governor Brownback is promoting a “culture of life” from his mansion in Topeka and thinking of new ways to pimp out poverty stricken single mothers within the state while what we really need are healthy, empowered mothers, because healthy mothers lead to healthy children. Health care, childcare assistance and educational opportunities should be the Governor’s focus. Instead, the hypocrisy runs rampant and we wait for God and a big strong man to come along and save us from feminine handicap, meanwhile an increasing number of children are dying in the state of Kansas.