JEFFERSON CITY, June 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood is no longer eligible for Medicaid reimbursements in Missouri, thanks to a provision of the impending budget.
The state legislature passed an appropriations bill for the state Department of Social Services on May 9 that excludes groups that perform and counsel for abortions from receiving Medicaid funds, KCUR reports. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has confirmed that he will sign the bill. Parson took over from the resigning pro-life Gov. Eric Greitens at the beginning of the month.
In anticipation of his signature, this week Missouri Medicaid Audit & Compliance director Dale Carr sent Planned Parenthood a letter notifying it that the group’s eleven locations in the state are about to be cut off from any reimbursement claims dated June 8 or later, as those payments would occur in the new fiscal year covered by the impending legislation.
“By sending us a last-minute letter claiming to suspend our Medicaid provider number, the state jeopardizes thousands of Missourians’ access to birth control, cancer screenings, and STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains CEO Brandon Hill complained.
Planned Parenthood’s defenders claim that defunding the organization needlessly deprives women of a range of serious health services that have nothing to do with abortion. However, the move frees those same funds to be distributed to legitimate health providers to provide those same services.
In Missouri, there are at least 45 federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics for every Planned Parenthood location. Such providers dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood in every other state, as well.
Federal law forbids federal tax dollars from being spent directly on most abortions, but it’s been estimated that taxpayers cover almost 25% of all abortion costs by reimbursing abortion groups’ other activities.
“I simply do not want our tax dollars being spent providing for abortions, and that's what I seek to do with this amendment,” Republican state Rep. Robert Ross, who introduced the abortion language to the bill, said in March. He added that the pretense that funding abortionists’ other services doesn’t support abortion was nothing more than a “shell game.”
Missouri is one of the more pro-life states in the Union. It has formally recognized that life begins at conception and banned partial-birth and post-viability abortions, and has a 72-hour waiting period for abortion and informed consent requirements that include ultrasounds and fetal pain. It also mandates parental consent for minors’ abortions and maintains a wide range of health and safety regulations on abortion facilities.