Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs supplemental budget bill that attempts to “defund” Planned Parenthood, defying state Supreme Court
JEFFERSON CITY, MO — Today, Gov. Mike Parson signed a supplemental budget bill that attempts to “defund” Planned Parenthood by blocking patients who rely on Medicaid from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Missouri may become the fourth state to “defund” Planned Parenthood after Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. Federal Medicaid law protects every Medicaid patient’s right to choose their provider including Planned Parenthood. To date, the Biden administration has yet to intervene and uphold patients’ federal rights.
Not only does this supplemental budget bill risk Missouri’s entire safety net, it also defies a 2020 Missouri Supreme Court ruling, which struck down as unconstitutional a previous attempt to defund Planned Parenthood through the budget. While Gov. Parson signed this bill into law, Planned Parenthood remains in the Medicaid program unless and until the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) takes action to block Medicaid patients’ right to access care at Planned Parenthood. Governor Parson and DSS have an important decision to make: they can choose to attack the thousands of Missourians who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for birth control, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, and other preventive services. Or, they can uphold the Missouri Constitution and recognize that this latest attempt to “defund” Planned Parenthood is unlawful.
Statement from Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri:
“To every Medicaid patient in Missouri: nothing changes. Planned Parenthood’s doors are open, and we will care for you regardless of your ability to pay. To Gov. Parson: your next move could land you in court. Again.”
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Once again, Gov. Mike Parson and Missouri politicians are threatening the health of the thousands of Missourians who rely on Planned Parenthood for essential sexual and reproductive health care. We’ve fought this fight before, and we are determined to ensure that Missourians are able to access the health care they need from the health care provider they choose, not whom Missouri politicians choose. Planned Parenthood will explore all of our options to ensure that our affiliates in Missouri can continue serving their community.”
Medicaid in Missouri already refuses to cover abortion services except in such narrow instances — rape, incest, and medical emergency — that no patient has qualified in the past year and a half. Because of this reality, Reproductive Health Services (RHS), the last abortion clinic in Missouri, is no longer in Missouri’s Medicaid program. Politicians just approved another “defund” against family planning patients over a service Medicaid never covered to begin with. These politicians are targeting family planning patients who choose to receive high-quality and compassionate care from Planned Parenthood simply because one Planned Parenthood organization in the state — RHS — provides abortion services outside of the Medicaid program. This is political gamesmanship at its highest levels and could cost the state billions of dollars in Medicaid funding.
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri has been the leading provider, educator and protector of reproductive health care in St. Louis and Southwest Missouri for over 85 years. Patients can make appointments online or by phone at 1-800-230-PLAN(7526).
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.