MoLeg Halftime Review

After two and a half months of work, the Missouri Legislature went on spring break last week. They returned to work today and will continue until Friday, May 12. Of the 42 bills that would hurt Missourians’ sexual and reproductive health, 16 have been passed out of committee and await debate in the House or Senate. Only two minor bills that harm access to reproductive health care have passed the House and been sent to the Senate. You can read up on all of the bills Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri is tracking in our bill summary.

Planned Parenthood Advocates and our allies have been actively fighting harmful legislation. More than 150 Planned Parenthood supporters have traveled to Jefferson City for lobby days, and 17 citizens, including physicians and patients, have testified at legislative hearings.

Here are some of the most dangerous bills to watch:

  • Eviscerating Medicaid: Senate Bill 28 would drastically cut Medicaid, an essential source of health care for Missouri women, men, and young people. SB 28 would radically alter how Medicaid is funded, resulting in fewer services being covered and fewer patients accessing care. Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri is part of a broad coalition working to stop SB 28. After the Senate stopped debate and tabled the bill, we are hopeful that SB 28 will not succeed this year.
  • Restricting Local Control and Enabling Reproductive DiscriminationHouse Bills 174 and 989 as well as Senate Bill 41 strip local control from communities by preventing cities from protecting their citizens from misleading Crisis Pregnancy Centers. The House bills specifically aim to supersede a new St. Louis City ordinance, Board Bill 203, that protects citizens from being fired or evicted because they use birth control, have an abortion, adopt a child, or use in vitro fertilization.
  • Attacking Women’s Health Providers in the BudgetHouse Bill 11 is a reckless budget proposal that seeks to deny thousands of Missourians access to preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Jefferson City politicians are attempting to take away preventive services like annual exams, birth control, cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment from thousands of Missourians who rely on Medicaid. HB 11 rejects millions of federal family planning funds so the state can deny Medicaid patients the right to choose their own health care provider. The House Budget Committee will debate this proposal tomorrow.
  • Abortion Restriction OmnibusSenate Bill 67 and House Bill 194 single out abortion providers and health centers that offer abortion for new, medically unnecessary restrictions. Both bills also prohibit families from donating fetal tissue for research after an abortion. Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s new standard in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, abortion restrictions that impose a burden without a legitimate benefit are unconstitutional.

While Planned Parenthood Advocates and our allies in the fight for sexual and reproductive health play a lot of defense in the Capitol, there are proactive bills that have made progress, too. House Bill 233 would expand Missourians’ access to contraception by allowing pharmacists to prescribe oral contraceptive pills directly to patients. It has passed one committee and awaits a vote in a second. A trio of bills, SB 180, HB 351 and HB 1002, would restrict the barbaric and dangerous practice of shackling pregnant and postpartum prisoners in Missouri. After nearly passing last year, we are hopeful that lawmakers will move Missouri forward and pass this legislation.

With six weeks of the legislative session to go, a lot can happen in Jefferson City. Planned Parenthood Advocates will keep you up to date and let you know about opportunities to make your voice heard.

Recap: #StandWithPP Resistance Rallies

Last week, Missourians across the state came out to stand with Planned Parenthood, support the Affordable Care Act and make their voices heard to members of Congress!

Columbia

This Saturday a dozen Planned Parenthood supporters in Columbia gathered outside of Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s (R-MO 4) office in the rain to stand with Planned Parenthood and celebrate the Affordable Care Act. Folks wrote prescriptions for “respect for all women’s health care choices,” “reproductive justice,” and “access to health care” for Rep. Hartzler and taped them to her door for her staff to find on Monday morning.

Springfield

Last Thursday, Planned Parenthood supporters rallied with Missouri Health Care for All in front of Rep. Billy Long’s (R-MO 7) Springfield office to defend the Affordable Care Act and oppose efforts to deny Medicaid patients’ access to Planned Parenthood health centers. More than 40 constituents showed up to protect access to health care!

On Saturday, fifteen Planned Parenthood advocates returned to Rep. Long’s Springfield office to #StandWithPP, celebrate the Affordable Care Act and say loud and clear that Rep. Long needs to represent all of his constituents by protecting sexual and reproductive health!

St. Louis

The fierce Planned Parenthood advocates of St. Louis have been busy! Last Thursday, 30 folks gathered at an Urban Chestnut Action Hour to learn about the political landscape, write letters, create signs for upcoming rallies, and gear up for the fight!

Friday morning kicked off with 50 advocates at a “rush hour rally” outside of Sen. Blunt’s (R-MO) Clayton office, in partnership with Missouri Health Care for All. We wrapped up the day with a successful phone bank, dialing over 2,300 Missourians about federal attacks on health care and Pres. Trump’s dangerous Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

The ultimate highlight came Saturday when a team of Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-MO 2) constituents set up a guerilla “health center waiting room” right outside her office, waiting for the Congresswoman to provide the services she’s obsessed with blocking at Planned Parenthood. See (and share!) the sassy video here!

Join us for a Lobby Day!

It’s not too late to make your voice heard in the Capitol! Three coalition lobby days remain: Missouri Women’s Network Equity Action Day on April 4, Moral Missouri Lobby Day and Rally on April 26, and Freedom of Choice Council Lobby Day on May 4.

Our organizers will prep you with materials and information so you can talk to your legislators with confidence.

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