In 1986 a Missouri state law was passed that prohibits the use of public funds to perform or assist in an abortion, or to counsel women to have one, except to save the life of the mother. Lawmakers were certain this was all that was needed for Missouri to defund Planned Parenthood. Then the state started to help the low-income women for family planning, through a medicaid program, which is funded by both the state and federal governments. What’s considered family planning? To name a few, pelvic exam, breast exam, pregnancy tests, or HIV blood screenings. No where is it stated that abortion is family planning. Yet medicaid is still forking out the money to fund them. Now the Missouri legislature is putting a stop to that.
The Missouri Legislature has approved a budget for the coming fiscal year that bans the allocation of Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood and other providers that perform abortions or refer clients for abortions. Pro-life language containing the restriction on Medicaid reimbursements was inserted into the social services budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1st.
The amendment was sponsored by Representative Robert Ross of Yukon. It affects a feature of Medicaid health insurance coverage for low-income Missourians known as the Women’s Health Services Program. Under that program, doctors and clinics receive federal and state reimbursement for “family planning” services provided to Medicaid recipients.
The budget stipulation now states that Medicaid funds may not be disbursed to persons or entities that “perform or induce abortions, or encourage or refer for abortions which are not necessary to save the life of the mother.” The prohibition impacts approximately $10.8 million in Medicaid funding. It is estimated that Planned Parenthood clinics receive around $400,000 a year from the Women’s Health Services Program.
“Last year we thought we had put a stop to this…yet here we are again a year later and Missouri is still sending taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, an organization that is the largest abortion provider in Missouri,” Representative Anderson explained.
Legislative supporters of Planned Parenthood argued that the pro-life budget restriction would leave 70,000 female Medicaid participants without access to vital women’s health services. This is a completely bogus argument, regardless of where in the state a Medicaid recipient lives.
There are 24 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Missouri providing health services to women from about 200 different locations. In contrast, there are 14 Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri. Most county health departments provide a range of services to low-income women, including “family planning” services. Similar programs are provided by regional community action organizations.
The 2018 state budget also makes clear that the State of Missouri remains committed to providing maternal health care services to low-income women. The budget includes a $14 million appropriation to the Show-Me Healthy Babies initiative. That program provides health insurance coverage for pregnant women and their children in families which are not eligible for Medicaid and cannot obtain health insurance coverage.
Planned Parenthood and their supporters will lie and deceive the people to make them believe that this new budget will only hurt women, and deny them access to healthcare which is totally false. With 200 FQHC locations compared to just 14 Planned Parenthood locations, no woman will suffer from any loss of care. This is a good move and will finally allow Missouri to defund Planned Parenthood.