Medicaid No More: Missouri Pulls Plug on Planned Parenthood Funding

Missouri legislators have just passed a bill that will defund one of the state’s biggest healthcare providers. 

Medicaid Meltdown

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In a move set to divide people, Missouri has passed a bill to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. House Bill 2634 bans any public funds from being sent to any abortion facility or “any affiliate or associate of such abortion facility.” 

Planned Parenthood Defunded

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This law puts Missouri among a growing list of states – including Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas – that have blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding.

Show-Me State Shows No Love

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Missouri Republicans have been trying to do this for years, but previous attempts were blocked by the courts. In fact, as recently as February, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that their latest effort to defund Planned Parenthood was unconstitutional. 

Political Ping-Pong

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The journey to the bill’s signing was far from smooth. 

Filibuster Follies

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The Senate’s hard-right Missouri Freedom Caucus took part in a 41-hour-long filibuster, blocking a bill to renew key taxes that fund the state’s Medicaid program. 

Cutting the Cord

Their demands included Republican Governor Mike Parson’s signature on the bill blocking Medicaid funds from going to Planned Parenthood, as well as some other concessions. The filibuster ended only after an agreement was made, which led to Parson signing the controversial law.

Parson’s Pro-Life Proclamation

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Governor Parson justified the bill by stating, “Our administration has been the strongest pro-life administration in Missouri history.” “We’ve ended all abortions in this state, approved new support for mothers, expecting mothers, and children, and with this bill, ensured that we are not sending taxpayer dollars to abortion providers for any purpose.”

Planned Parenthood Pushback

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Despite the new law, Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri have promised to carry on their work. 

Clinics Vow to Continue

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Planned Parenthood hasn’t offered abortions in Missouri since the reversal of Roe V. Wade, which effectively banned abortion in Missouri – barring a few exceptions. 

Services Still Standing

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However, these clinics do provide services such as contraceptive care, STI testing, cancer screenings, and wellness checks. 

Funding Fallout

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Missouri’s Planned Parenthood locations are affiliated with clinics in Kansas and Illinois, where abortion laws are less restrictive – and this is why Missouri Republicans are so against the organization. 

Pro-Life Politics

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They’re worried that it could use Medicaid funding to promote traveling to abortion clinics in other states – or to actually help people visit these clinics.

Missouri’s Medicaid Decision Divides

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Emily Wales, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, stated that the organization will remain open “to continue caring for patients with Medicaid.” Planned Parenthood Great Plains covers Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas – quite a broad reach for one healthcare provider.

The Fund Freeze

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Missouri’s clinics have not received Medicaid funding for two years and have relied on private fundraising to cover costs, according to Wales.

Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life

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Democrats and abortion rights advocates argue that the bill is targeting Missouri’s most vulnerable, and have emphasized that many people rely on Planned Parenthood for non-abortion-related healthcare. 

Funding Feud

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The St. Louis and Southwest Missouri chapter of Planned Parenthood voiced their concerns in a statement online, “Just like Missouri’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!”

Planned Parenthood’s Reach

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Planned Parenthood has a huge reach in Missouri. According to statistics, around one in five of their patients in the state are on Medicaid, and nearly half of all patients who rely on family planning safety-net providers in Missouri go to Planned Parenthood health centers. 

Possible Future Peril

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The impact of cutting off Medicaid funds could be huge, especially for people on a low-income who rely on these services.

More To Come

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The new law will go into effect on August 28, however that doesn’t mean the fight over reproductive rights and healthcare access in Missouri is over. 

Ballot Box Battlegrounds

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Come November in Missouri there could be a big test for pro-life legislation at the ballot box. A constitutional amendment to legalize abortion has amassed over 380,000 voter signatures – WELL above the 171,000 required to qualify for the ballot. Election officials have until July 30 to verify these signatures.

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The postMedicaid No More: Missouri Pulls Plug on Planned Parenthood Funding – first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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