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Missouri Axes Medicaid Funds for Planned Parenthood

“Just like MO’s abortion ban, ‘defunding’ is about power & control,” said a Missouri chapter of Planned Parenthood.

The outside of the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen through a gate in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 30, 2019.

On Thursday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a bill into law that effectively cuts off Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds in the state, making Missouri the fourth state in the country to ban Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood.

The bill, HB 2634, is expected to go into effect later this year, and makes it illegal to allocate public funds to any abortion facility or “any affiliate or associate of such abortion facility.”

However, since the constitutional right to abortion was reversed in 2022, Missouri has enforced a strict abortion ban, thereby prohibiting Planned Parenthood chapters in the state from providing abortion care. Missouri law currently claims that life begins at conception, and providers who violate the abortion ban face civil and criminal penalties.

“Just like MO’s abortion ban, ‘defunding’ is about power & control; it’s part of the fight to make sure Missourians — not politicians — control their bodies, lives, & futures!” the St. Louis and southwest Missouri chapter of Planned Parenthood said on social media.

A regional Planned Parenthood chapter has stated that the bill seeks not only to limit access to abortion-related information, but also to restrict non-abortion health care services for low-income people in the state.

“Governor Parson just signed a bill to block Missourians who rely on Medicaid from getting essential health care, including birth control, cancer screenings, annual wellness exams, and STI testing and treatment at Planned Parenthood,” the organization said on X.

Not only are approximately one in five of Planned Parenthood’s patients in the state on Medicaid, but nearly half of all patients who depend on family planning safety-net providers in the state are served by Planned Parenthood health centers.

“Other providers cannot absorb the thousands of patients impacted by this ‘defunding’ attack,” Planned Parenthood said on social media.

HB 2634 marks the third attempt by lawmakers in recent years to terminate Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood. The courts have consistently blocked these efforts, and, in February, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the legislature’s most recent attempt to defund Planned Parenthood was unconstitutional.

“Even though the Missouri Supreme Court and the Circuit Court of Cole County have ruled that defunding attempts were unconstitutional, lawmakers continue playing political games to deny patients high-quality preventive care,” the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates said in a joint statement in January.

Planned Parenthood has vowed to remain open and “to continue caring for patients with Medicaid” in the state despite being stripped of Medicaid funds. According to Emily Wales, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, Missouri’s clinics have actually not received Medicaid reimbursements for two years. To compensate, they’ve relied on private fundraising efforts to cover costs.

State Rep. LaKeySha Bosley (D) has said that the legislative attack on Planned Parenthood will inspire people to go to the polls in November to vote yes on a constitutional amendment that would establish the right to an abortion in Missouri. “Women are going to come to the ballot and they’re going to remember.” Bosley said. “So be ready.”

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