An end to Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood in Missouri is one of several ways pressure is being put on the abortion provider in recent weeks.
The measure is part of a $28 billion budget that is expected to be signed by Gov. Mike Parson, and the latest major pro-life measure since the passage of SB5, a comprehensive bill that pro-life groups have said protects the health and safety of women and unborn children and provides protections for pregnancy resource centers.
“Despite having one of the most comprehensive pro-life bills passed in a decade, state lawmakers continued to make advances in pro-life legislation in the areas of defunding abortion providers and promoting alternatives to abortion,” said Deacon Sam Lee, a pro-life lobbyist with Campaign Life Missouri. “It shows they are not willing to rest on previous legislation, but realize the unborn and pregnant women need more assistance.”
Lawmakers this year also approved $6.5 million in funding for the Alternatives to Abortion program, which provides a variety of services to pregnant women, including counseling, prenatal care, emergency housing, job placement assistance and adoption referrals when requested. They also expanded the state income tax credit program for maternity homes and pregnancy resource center programs to $3.5 million each.
• End of Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood will no longer receive funding from the state family planning program and federal Medicaid program as part of two amendments written into the Missouri budget bill which, when signed as expected by Gov. Mike Parson, will take effect July 1. However, Planned Parenthood received a letter June 8 from the Missouri Department of Social Services that stated any claims submitted for reimbursement after 5 p.m. June 8 will be suspended.
Amendments to House Bill 2011 note that “no funds shall be expended to any abortion facility … or any affiliate or associate thereof,” and “no funds shall be expended on any program that performs abortions or that counsels women to have an abortion other than the exceptions required by federal law.”
• “Complication plan” upheld: A federal judge has denied Planned Parenthood’s motion for a preliminary injunction in its lawsuit against Missouri’s drug-induced abortion “complication plan” law and regulations. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against a provision of the law that requires abortion clinics to have a “complication plan,” which includes that a board-certified or board-eligible OB/GYN is on call and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to treat complications related to abortion drugs prescribed or administered by the physician. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) developed the regulation to implement Senate Bill 5, which passed in summer of 2017 at a special legislative session.
U.S. District Judge Beth Philips of Kansas City ruled that Planned Parenthood failed to present sufficient evidence to show that the new law is a substantial burden on a woman’s right to an abortion. “DHSS is pleased with the Court’s ruling upholding its complication plan regulation,” said DHSS director Dr. Randall W. Williams, who provided testimony in the case. “Ensuring the safety of all patients is always the department’s foremost concern. The complication plan regulation protects the health and safety of patients by re-emphasizing the importance of the physician-patient relationship, providing for continuity of care, and ensuring communication among the physician and patient.” The ruling could still be appealed.
• Abortions temporarily halted at Kansas City Planned Parenthood: The Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas City, Mo., has stopped providing abortions after offering them there since September. Only two Planned Parenthood clinics currently provide abortions in the state — St. Louis and Columbia. Several media reports have cited Kristin Metcalf-Wilson, assistant vice president of health services for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, as saying the temporary halt is due to a “provider transition.” Planned Parenthood Great Plains did not respond to a request for comment.