Today, the Missouri Legislature is expected to vote on a must-pass supplemental budget bill that would “defund” Planned Parenthood, which would block Medicaid patients from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive services at Planned Parenthood health centers. For a second year in a row, Missouri politicians are attempting to hold a must-pass budget bill hostage with language that takes aim at Medicaid patients who rely on Planned Parenthood. If this measure passes, Missouri would be the fourth state, including Texas, to “defund” Planned Parenthood — yet still, the Biden administration has taken zero actions to protect patients. Not only does blocking Medicaid patients from accessing Planned Parenthood violate a state Supreme Court ruling, it also violates federal Medicaid law. Already three states — Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas — have “defunded” Planned Parenthood. Will the administration sit by and watch a fourth state take aim at patients with the least amount of money and access?
Here are four things you need to know about Missouri’s latest “defunding” attack:
- As we near the potential end of Roe v. Wade, it’s clear politicians won’t stop at banning abortion. They are coming for all aspects of reproductive health care. Blocking Medicaid patients from accessing birth control, STI testing and treatment, and other preventive services is part of a larger agenda to dismantle reproductive freedom. The State of Missouri is also trying to take control of Title X funding — grant dollars that are part of the nation’s largest family planning program — in order to redirect critical health care funding away from Planned Parenthood patients.
- Last year, the must-pass Federal Reimbursement Allowance funding bill included “defund” language that also tried to ban birth control. Just like it took decades to push abortion access to the brink, the effort to dismantle all reproductive health care has already been set in motion.
- The Biden administration already said no state can defund Planned Parenthood. Yet it has not enforced Medicaid law in Arkansas, Mississippi, or Texas, nor has Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued official guidance affirming the federal requirement to states like the Obama administration did in 2016. Without enforcement or even guidance, politicians will continue boldly attempting to ignore federal law, which threatens access to health care for thousands of Missourians.
- The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that using the budget to amend state statute is unconstitutional. Inserting a “defund” language in a budget bill is a blatant disregard for state Supreme Court precedent and could cost taxpayers even more money to defend.