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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today, the Missouri Legislature again passed a budget bill that continues to block patients who rely on Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. With abortion banned in Missouri, access to affordable birth control, emergency contraception, and other preventive care is more critical than ever. Missouri is one of four states to “defund” Planned Parenthood after Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. Federal Medicaid law protects the freedom of every patient to access care from their trusted providers, including Planned Parenthood. To date, the Biden administration has yet to intervene and protect patients’ federal right to this care.

Not only does this budget risk Missouri’s health care safety net, but it also defies a 2020 Missouri Supreme Court ruling and a December 2022 decision from the Circuit Court of Cole County, both of which struck down as unconstitutional previous attempts to “defund” Planned Parenthood through the budget. The legislature passed “defund” through the supplemental Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, FY2023, and now the FY2024 budgets. This follows unlawful attempts to defund Planned Parenthood in FY19, FY20, and FY21.  

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

“For the third year in a row, Missouri politicians are ignoring federal law and the state constitution by again blocking Medicaid patients who rely on Planned Parenthood from care. Lawmakers have again violated their oath to uphold the Missouri constitution; they must stop waging an ideological war on health care and begin to fix the problems inflicted by decades of disinvestment and attacks on care. And the Biden administration must enforce long standing Medicaid law now — time is running out. 

“Despite the legislature’s disrespect for both the law and Missourians who need critical care, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri will continue serving MO  HealthNet patients at no cost for as long as possible. We remain unwavering in our commitment to the thousands of Medicaid patients who rely on us for life-saving health care."

The Missouri Family Health Council Inc. (MFHC) administers federal family planning dollars to clinics across the state, and in 2022, MFHC-funded sites provided family planning services to almost 40,000 patients. Approximately half of those patients were served by a Planned Parenthood health center. Other providers simply cannot absorb the thousands of patients impacted by this budget law and patients will lose their access to care.

Missouri is facing multiple public health crises — from health care provider shortages, rising STI (sexually transmitted infection) rates, worsening Black maternal mortality rates — in Missouri, the maternal mortality rate for Black women is three times the rate of white women — and a devastating abortion ban. It is not a coincidence that the patients who have the hardest time accessing abortion in a post-Roe reality are the same patients who are the most impacted by this “defund” attack.