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The Monitor is Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri’s regular update on the political and policy happenings related to sexual and reproductive health and rights in our state. Weekly from January to May during the Legislative session, then monthly, the Monitor will keep you in the know. 

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Politicians are Trying to Block Patients from Care at Planned Parenthood

On Friday, June 8, the state attempted to remove Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program. This effort would displace more than 7,000 patients in Missouri who come to Planned Parenthood for preventive care like birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment.

This move by the state is shocking since the bill authorizing the state to “defund” Planned Parenthood — i.e., remove Planned Parenthood from Medicaid and block patients from care — has not even been signed into law.

Trump-Pence Administration’s “Gag Rule” Blocks Patients from Care at Planned Parenthood

The Trump-Pence administration has proposed a “gag rule” that would undermine the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. This is opposed by the medical community, lawmakers, and public health experts. Major medical associations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and more oppose this rule.

Legal Update: Challenging Medically Unnecessary Restrictions on Medication Abortion

Last summer, then-Gov. Greitens called an expensive special session solely to add new restrictions to safe and legal abortion. The Missouri Legislature obliged, and passed Senate Bill 5, chock-full of medically unnecessary restrictions. Once SB 5 took effect, Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region both sued to overturn it. They also asked the court to immediately block a particularly burdensome restriction that cuts off many patients’ access to medication abortion. Earlier this week, the court issued a baffling decision admitting the state’s abortion regulation had “virtually no benefit,” but left it in place.

Brandon J. Hill, president and CEO of Comprehensive Health of PPGP and Mary M. Kogut, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services of PPSLR, issued the following statement:

“Politicians and state regulators, ignoring medical evidence, continue to impose arbitrary restrictions that harm the women they purportedly serve. As was the case with the medically unnecessary and burdensome regulations that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, we are confident this unnecessary regulation will ultimately be overturned. We will continue to fight for justice and the right for all Missourians to access the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care they choose.”

MoLeg Recap: Bills Awaiting Governor's Signature

While 26 anti-sexual and reproductive health bills were filed in the 2018 legislative session, there were over 80 positive bills advancing the mission of Planned Parenthood and improving the wellbeing of patients. In total, the Legislature passed eight of our positive bills and three bills we oppose.

Before he left office, Gov. Greitens signed the following positive measures into law:

  • HB 2280, Postpartum Medicaid Coverage: Expands coverage for substance use treatment to new moms’ for a year after birth.
  • HB 1246, Human Trafficking Hotline: Requires health care providers and certain businesses to display posters with a hotline to report human trafficking.
  • HB 1558, Criminalizing Revenge Porn: Makes the non-consensual distribution of private sexual images a felony.
  • HB 1617, Removing Restrictions on Medicaid Telehealth: Increases access to care through telehealth for patients with low incomes who are covered by Medicaid.

These measures remain for Gov. Parson to sign, veto, or ignore. If he does not act upon a bill by the July deadline, it becomes law without his signature:

Bad bills:

  • HB 2010 & HB 2011, “Defunding” Patients’ Care at Planned Parenthood: Blocks patients covered by Medicaid and Missouri’s Women’s Health Services Program from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Take action now!
  • HB 1288, Diverting Tax Dollars to Faith-Based Anti-Abortion Counseling Centers: Increases from $2.5 to $3.5 million the amount of tax dollars that can be diverted through tax credits to faith-based anti-abortion counseling centers. These centers are not required to provide medically accurate information, and many are on record giving false and misleading information to pregnant people.

Good bills:

  • SB 655, Protecting Against Human Trafficking: Sets a minimum marriage age of 16 and prohibits the marriage of someone over 21 to someone under 17.
  • SB 826, Expanding LARC Access: Increases access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) like IUDs and implants — the most effective form of birth control — by allowing a new, unused LARC prescribed to one Medicaid patient to be transferred to a different patient instead of being discarded.
  • SB 870, Restrictions on Shackling Pregnant People: Restricts the use of shackles on pregnant people who are in the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections during their third trimester, while giving birth, and for 48 hours postpartum.
  • HB 1606, Improving Sex Education: Requires school districts that choose to offer sex education to include information about consent, sexual violence, and sexual harassment.

Today, Planned Parenthood Advocates will join the National Council of Jewish Women - St. Louis Section, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, the Teen Pregnancy and Prevention Partnership, Generate Health and the Missouri Family Health Council for a Legislative Wrap-Up and Policy Forum at NCJW’s office at 295 N. Lindbergh Blvd in St. Louis. The event is free and open to the public.

Victory! Reproductive Health Champion Lauren Arthur Elected to Missouri Senate

On  Tuesday, June 5, Rep. Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City) won her election to the Missouri Senate, defeating an anti-reproductive health opponent who has voted to “defund” Planned Parenthood.

She will represent District 17 in Clay County.

Both Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes and Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri endorsed Rep. Arthur because she’s been a champion of Missourians’ sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout her four years in the Missouri House. With her election, the Missouri Senate pro-reproductive health caucus grows to 10 members, out of 34 total.

Stand With Planned Parenthood in Your Community

Update: Poor People’s Campaign

On Monday, we saw some of our largest and most powerful actions yet! Thirty-four states came together in moral action at their state capitols and hundreds of people engaged in civil disobedience around the country to expose the moral crisis of our lack of access to affordable housing, living wages, good jobs, and well-funded education. Want to help stop more poverty wages in Missouri? Join the Poor People's Campaign-STL for a canvass!

Pride Celebrations

June is Pride Month, and Planned Parenthood Advocates is proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community, no matter what. Join us at Pride celebrations throughout the month!

Southwest Missouri

St. Louis

Find Events Near You

Check Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s national calendar to find events planned in your community!

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