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Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, / video screen grab

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MISSOURI July 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Supreme Court of Missouri has overturned a state law which blocked taxpayer funding of abortion facilities, with a 6-1 vote in favor of a challenge brought against the law by Planned Parenthood.

Ruling yesterday in Planned Parenthood v. Department of Social Services the majority of the judges sided with Planned Parenthood’s claim that a provision of Missouri’s FY2019 appropriation bill which said that “[n]o funds shall be expended to any abortion facility… or any affiliate or associate thereof” was in conflict with Missouri’s state constitution.

The one dissenting judge, Zel Fischer, said that his fellow judges had failed to apply “the plain and unambiguous language” of the constitution to the case and had instead cited previous cases in order to form its conclusion.

Missouri has just one operating abortion center, a scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis, but a number of other Planned Parenthood facilities offer contraceptives and cancer screenings. According to a report in the Associated Press Missouri instead used state money to pay for these, rather than fund the abortion-committing facility. Pro-lifers have long noted that money is fungible, meaning that public funding Planned Parenthood uses for approved purposes frees funds from other sources to be spent on abortions.

Gerard Nieters, Legislative Director of Missouri Right to Life, said in a press release that the decision is “yet another case of liberal activist judges substituting their opinion for that of the legislature.” 

“The Missouri legislature clearly stated in its 2019 appropriations bill that its Medicaid Family Planning funds not be paid to abortion providers or its affiliates. But the court claimed that the prohibition of the payment of funds to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates was unconstitutional. Thus, Missourian’s tax dollars will continue to indirectly fund abortions via Family Planning payments,” Nieters said.

“Coming on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down Louisiana’s law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in order to protect the health of women who have an abortion, the pro-life community is reeling from a one-two punch,” he continued.

“Missouri Right to Life will continue to work with the Missouri legislature to insure that future Missouri moneys not be paid to abortion providers. Be assured that we will continue the fight to protect the lives of unborn babies and the health of their mothers.”