Victory: Patients' Access to Birth Control Protected!
We kicked off June with a big win: Together, we defeated politicians’ attacks on birth control AND their attempts to (once again) block patients’ access to essential care by “defunding” Planned Parenthood!
Hundreds of thousands of Missourians rely on Medicaid to access affordable health care, including birth control. The Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA) is a must-pass bill that funds Missouri’s Medicaid program. This year, extremist politicians in the state legislature held the bill hostage in an attempt to block patients from accessing the most common and effective forms of birth control, including IUDs and emergency contraception. They lied, trying to confuse Missourians by redefining birth control as abortion-inducing drugs.
Extremists politicians repeatedly spread inaccurate, unscientific, and straight-up false information about birth control and emergency contraception — like IUDs and Plan B — all in an attempt to restrict our health care options. These attacks singled out patients with low incomes, who are disproportionately Black and Brown folks, women, and people living in rural communities.
But the attacks failed. Together, we stopped the birth control ban and won a clean FRA that protects funding for hospitals, nursing homes, and other essential health care providers, and reaffirms the right of all patients to choose our own health care providers.
You made this win possible. Thank you for your calls, your emails, your testimony, your presence in the Capitol — however you raised your voice in this fight. We also owe our thanks to our legislative champions and our partners in the fight for reproductive freedom — this is a shared victory.
We know that the attacks won’t stop, though. (You’ll see what we’re talking about in the section below.) That’s why we're calling on the pro-reproductive health White House to make it clear every Missourian who relies on Medicaid has the freedom to choose their provider and whichever birth control method works best for them.
Add your name, and ask the Biden-Harris administration to ensure people have the freedom to access all methods of contraception and choose their own health care provider under the Medicaid program.
Take Action: Senate Interim Committee Targets Planned Parenthood Patients
The attacks on Missourians’ access to care aren’t over. Anti-reproductive freedom politicians have created an interim Senate committee charged with recommending ways to “defund” Planned Parenthood. We know that “defunding” really means blocking patients who rely on Medicaid from getting essential care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
You read that right: In the middle of a global pandemic, we have elected leaders focused on denying patients with low incomes — who are disproportionately Black and Brown folks, women, and people living in rural communities — access to birth control, cancer screenings, annual exams, and STI testing/treatment.
Planned Parenthood plays a vital role in Missouri’s health care safety net, which is already overburdened. Many safety-net providers have weeks-long wait times for appointments, but patients who need birth control or have a lump in their breast can’t wait that long. Planned Parenthood fills this gap, with appointments available on short notice, evening and weekend hours, and the full range of birth control options so patients can choose the method that works best for them.
“Defunding” would harm the patients who choose the trusted clinicians at Planned Parenthood for their care, and it would also tear a hole in Missouri’s entire health care safety net.
Our next chance to act is a committee hearing on Wednesday, August 4 at noon.We’re working closely with allies to ensure as many supporters of Planned Parenthood can testify in support of Medicaid patients’ access to Planned Parenthood. Will you join us? Click the button below to send us a quick email and we'll get you set up!
Medicaid Expansion WINS!
We have another win to celebrate: The Missouri Supreme Court upheld Medicaid Expansion! This is a major victory for the 275,000+ Missourians who need and deserve access to affordable health care!
This win came a few weeks after Planned Parenthood Advocates supporters and team members joined hundreds of Missourians in Jefferson City to demand Gov. Parson abide by the will of the people who voted to put Medicaid Expansion in the state constitution.
We are so proud of the work Planned Parenthood Advocates supporters did as part of the broad coalition that made this moment a reality. To everyone who’s knocked doors, gathered petition signatures, made calls, lobbied legislators and shown up again and again: THANK YOU!
Recap: Focusing on Menstrual Equity with Missouri Appleseed
Southeast Missouri Grassroots Organizer Mahala Pittman and Manager of Strategic Partnerships Nikia Paulette teamed up with Liza Weiss of Missouri Appleseed to educate and engage folks about menstrual equity and how we can make sure every Missourian has the period supplies they need to be safe and healthy.
Mahala delved into the history of period products, from pre-20th century menstruation practices to the pads, tampons and menstrual cups available now. While there are many options available, not everyone can afford them. A lack of access to quality period supplies has big ramifications for a person’s health, education and employment.
In a survey of people incarcerated in Missouri state prisons, Missouri Appleseed found:
- 80.3% resorted to making their own tampons because they could not afford tampons from the prison canteen;
- 22.5% reported vaginal infections in the past six months, and the rate is even higher among people who made their own tampons.
Missouri Appleseed has successfully lobbied legislators to make sure all people incarcerated in the state’s prisons and jails can access free, quality tampons and pads — a big win to build on!
Nikia highlighted the work of the Teen Advocates for Sexual Health (TASH) Advocacy Council, a group of high school students pushing for legislation to make sure students across Missouri have access to the period supplies they need in school restrooms. Among the 20 attendees was St. Louis County Councilwoman Rita Days, who said she would consider sponsoring an ordinance to support menstrual equity.
Recap: North STL County Action Forum
Grassroots Organizers Teona McGhaw-Boure’ and Bianca Adams-Gaston convened the monthly North County Action Forum on July 17, virtually bringing together 20 community members to discuss a range of topics, including:
A police reform measure that restricts police use of chokeholds, increases criminal penalties for law enforcement officers and corrections officers who have sex while on duty, and protects young people charged with a crime from being housed in an adult jail or prison. Originally known as Senate Bill 60 and House Bill 876, the bill marks a major step in police and criminal justice reform for the state.
Legislative attacks on Missourians’ reproductive freedom, including the attempted birth control ban and the attempts to “defund” Planned Parenthood.
Forming a Bellefontaine Neighbors subcommittee to do community outreach around COVID-19.
The North County Action Council meets each month. Email Teona to learn more and get involved!