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ST. LOUIS - Today, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLRSWMO) announced it received its largest ever one-time donation — $9 million — from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This historic investment in sexual and reproductive health care in the organization’s bi-state region signals an important sea-change in philanthropy that prioritizes state-based organizations, advocates, and providers fighting to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care on the ground. PPSLRSWMO joins its committed network of supporters in celebrating this unprecedented contribution, which serves as a public stamp of confidence in the collective work of staff, community members, activists, and advocates who fight everyday to protect and expand access to health care.

PPSLRSWMO is one of 21 Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country that received a gift from Ms. Scott. She explained in her announcement why she selected providers like PPSLRSWMO:

“Each non-profit…was selected through a rigorous process, and has a strong track record of serving under-supported needs. If you are looking for a way to serve humanity’s common cause, every one of them is a great candidate. Helping any of us can help us all.”

This generous gift comes at a time when access to abortion hangs by a thread and attacks against abortion providers, support groups, and pro-abortion rights supporters intensifies daily. Missouri politicians are pushing cross-state abortion bans and trying to put bounties on the heads of all people in the United States who help a Missourian access abortion. At the same time, Missouri politicians are taking aim at essential preventive health care — blocking Medicaid patients from accessing birth control, STI testing and treatment, and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers in Missouri. This unprecedented gift will continue allowing PPSLRSWMO to ensure sexual and reproductive health care in Missouri and southern Illinois remains accessible and affordable, including Medicaid patients at the center of Planned Parenthood “defunding” attacks.

Statement from Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri:

“We are honored and humbled by this transformational gift. As a leading sexual and reproductive health care provider caught between two realities — a red and blue state — our patients face some of the most complicated landscapes when accessing the care they need. This gift empowers our boots-on-the-ground teams. We commit to rebuilding a future where abortion, birth control, STI testing and treatments, and all reproductive health care is accessible and affordable, no matter what.

“I also must acknowledge every staff member whose hard work, innovation, and commitment to patients contributed to this historic moment. Each person’s work — in health centers, in our legislatures, and in the streets of our communities — visibily reflects our patient-centered approach to ensuring every person has access to sexual and reproductive health care in the face of unrelenting attacks. This gift is as much reflective of our community’s commitment as it is of our staff’s dedication to health care access.”

As a philanthropist who has pledged to give the majority of her wealth back to the society that helped generate it, Ms. Scott also recognizes the value of investing in health care providers that work in partnership and in deep community in order to address long-term social inequities on health disparities. PPSLRSWMO and Reproductive Health Services (RHS) know that in the rapidly changing reproductive health care landscape, our work reaches far beyond the state lines in which we’re located. Ms. Scott’s gift will have a ripple effect across countless communities in our region, including the seven-states from which patients regularly travel.

In Missouri, Planned Parenthood serves 52 percent of patients in the family planning safety net system. Beyond the safety net, 14,000 out-of-state patients could rely on southern Illinois for abortion care in the first year after Roe v. Wade is overturned. Scott’s gift will resource PPSLRSWMO’s work to protect and expand access in spite of political attacks that create barriers for patients who already face racist and discriminatory systems.

In the past year alone, PPSLRSWMO’s launched innovative health care delivery models that center the unique needs of patients navigating a pandemic, anti-reproductive health care political climates, and increasing health care costs:

  • PPSLRSWMO launched Missouri’s first-ever transgender care program for patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. 
  • RHS was the first in the country to operationalize non-research based abortion-pill-by-mail services for everyday patients in Illinois.
  • RHS, in partnership with Hope Clinic for Women, opened a first-of-its-kind Regional Logistics Center to help patients arrange travel, lodging, financial aid, and other practical support needs in order to access abortion care.

These advancements in sexual and reproductive health care are made possible thanks to the philanthropic community, including foundations and private donors like Ms. Scott. ​​​​​​​

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