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Politicians have no business blocking patients from the health care providers they trust

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Patients, providers and advocates overwhelmingly spoke out today at a public hearing on Gov. Mike Parson’s latest attempt to “defund” Planned Parenthood. There were zero public comments delivered in support of the politically motivated “defund” effort.

Governor Parson has been trying to “defund” Planned Parenthood for years. The Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled the “defund” attempts by Parson and the legislature unlawful, so now anti-abortion politicians are trying another route: opting for a federal Extended Women’s Health Services Program with the same “defund” provision.

Let’s be clear: “defunding” Planned Parenthood means blocking patients from birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment. 

Heather Donahue, a Planned Parenthood patient from St. Louis, submitted her comment live during the hearing: 

“I’ve been a Planned Parenthood patient since an abnormal Pap test in college. The private ob/gyn I saw left me scared and confused, so I turned to Planned Parenthood, and they made me feel respected, not judged. The nurses explained my diagnosis clearly, empowered me with a treatment plan, and gave me excellent care. 

“This ‘defund’ attack is wrong. Politicians have no business blocking me from the health care provider I trust.”

With a public health crisis during the global pandemic, Gov. Parson should be focused on making sure everyone can access the health care they need — not blocking patients from essential health care at Planned Parenthood.

In addition to Heather Donahue, public comments opposing the “defund” were made by:

  • Chimene Schwach - Planned Parenthood patient and concerned citizen

  • Stephanie Volker - Physician assistant in women's oncology

  • Andrea Waner - Public health expert and concerned citizen

  • Michelle Trupiano - Missouri Family Health Council 

  • Mallory Schwarz - NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri 

  • Jennifer Bernstein - National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis

  • M'Evie Mead - Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri