Missouri defunds Planned Parenthood, abortion providers

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 31, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri.
The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 31, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. | Michael Thomas/Getty Images

Missouri has passed a law stopping public funds like Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers operating in the state.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed House Bill 2634 into law on Thursday, which makes it "unlawful for any public funds to be expended to any abortion facility, or to any affiliate of such abortion facility."

The law defines "affiliate" as "a person or entity who enters into, with an abortion facility, a legal relationship created or governed by at least one written instrument, including a certificate of formation, a franchise agreement, standards of affiliation, bylaws, or a license."

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While Missouri had already enacted a measure to prevent the public funding of abortion, the new law stops any public funding of abortion providers or their affiliates, such as reimbursements via the MO HealthNet program.

"Our administration has been the strongest pro-life administration in Missouri history," Parson said in a statement. "We thank members of the General Assembly for recognizing this important issue and sending this legislation to my desk."

"We've ended all elective abortions in this state, approved new support for mothers, expecting mothers, and children, and, with this bill, ensured that we are not sending taxpayer dollars to abortion providers for any purpose."

Missouri bans abortions in nearly all circumstances, with Planned Parenthood facilities that operate in the state providing other services such as contraception and STI testing.

Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri posted a statement to Facebook denouncing the new law, arguing that it blocks "essential health care, including birth control, cancer screenings, annual wellness exams, and STI testing and treatment at Planned Parenthood."

"Planned Parenthood health centers serve nearly half of all patients who rely on family planning safety-net providers in the state. Other providers cannot absorb the thousands of patients impacted by this 'defunding' attack," the organization continued. "All our Missouri health centers remain open, and we plan to continue caring for patients with Medicaid."

Missouri lawmakers had previously attempted to bar abortion providers in the state from receiving public funds in 2022 with the passage of House Bill 3014.

In February, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against HB 3014, concluding that it violated the Missouri Constitution's equal protection and single-subject provisions. The latter prohibits laws from tackling more than one major issue.  

On a national level, Planned Parenthood's annual report for 2022-2023, released last month, shows that it received a record of nearly $700 million in government grants and reimbursements but provided fewer health services and more abortions

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