Missouri Monitor: August 2021
By Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri | Aug. 31, 2021, 5 p.m.
Bans Off My Body: September 1 National Day of Action
Planned Parenthood organizations and partners across the country will hold a day of action on September 1 to raise awareness of Texas’s draconian six-week abortion ban and stand in support of reproductive freedom. We’re rallying nationwide to fight for abortion rights and the freedom to make our own decisions about our bodies and our futures.
Together, we will send a clear and loud message to politicians who want to control our bodies and our lives: BANS OFF OUR BODIES.
Planned Parenthood will always be there for patients. We will fight to ensure that patients — and everyone in this country — can still access health care, no matter what. Patients’ lives are too important to let bans like Texas’s SB 8 take effect without a fight and serve as blueprints for other hostile laws across the country.
Together, we can stand up for access to safe and legal abortion and reject these attempts to strip us of our health and rights. People across the country are clamoring to speak out and take action. Join the movement for reproductive freedom and be part of the September 1 National Day of Action!Sign Your Name
Recap: MO Senate Interim Committee Targets Planned Parenthood Patients
On August 4th, 25 volunteers masked up and traveled to the statehouse to protect Missourians’ reproductive freedom.
Despite the surge COVID-19 cases across Missouri, state senators held a committee hearing and allowed only in-person testimony to become part of the public record. The committee, dubbed the Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection (MATP), has been tasked with recommending ways to “defund” Planned Parenthood — which is shorthand for blocking Medicaid patients from accessing birth control, annual exams, cancer screenings and STI testing and treatment at Planned Parenthood health centers. This committee is the latest chapter in Republican extremists’ years-long attack on Planned Parenthood patients; it was formed after pro-reproductive freedom advocates successfully stopped efforts earlier this summer to “defund” Planned Parenthood and ban Medicaid patients from accessing common forms of birth control.
Patients, physicians, and legal experts, together with our allies at the Missouri Family Health Council, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, the ACLU of Missouri, and the National Council of Jewish Women — St. Louis, testified about the essential role that Planned Parenthood health centers play in serving patients with low incomes, with and without insurance. Witnesses also underscored Planned Parenthood’s importance to our state’s health care safety net, which is already over capacity. Despite claims otherwise, it is simply not true that patients can just “go somewhere else.” Missouri’s fraying health care safety net needs more providers, not fewer.
The hearing concluded with three passionate supporters representing more than 8,000 Missourians who signed petitions standing with Planned Parenthood and opposing any efforts to block patients from getting the care they need. It took 10 volunteers to load the boxes and boxes of petitions into the hearing and support the three witnesses during their testimony.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Anti-abortion forces continue pressing Missouri lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood
🔦 Spotlight: BOSS Fellow Sarah Blair
Sarah Blair is a fellow in Action St. Louis's Black Organizing Summer School (BOSS). As part of this program, she is interning with St. Louis Grassroots Organizer Teona McGhaw-Bouré. Here is an introduction to Sarah in her own words:
"My name is Sarah Blair. My family is from the Caribbean (Guyana and Barbados), but I grew up in New Jersey. I moved to St. Louis in sixth grade and have been attached ever since. Now, I'm a senior at Washington University in St. Louis studying anthropology and pre-medicine. As I just became a certified doula, my goal is to be more involved in efforts to improve maternal health in St. Louis. Currently, I'm working as a fellow for Action St. Louis BOSS and I'm happily interning as an organizer with Teona McGhaw-Bouré at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri."
Thank you for your work, Sarah!
Recap: Congresswoman Cori Bush Joins Planned Parenthood Panel Discussion
Earlier this summer, U.S. Representative Cori Bush (D-St. Louis) joined Planned Parenthood Action Fund for a panel discussion with PPAF leaders and Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri President Yamelsie Rodríguez.
Congresswoman Bush discussed her journey to Congress, expressing gratitude to the people of St. Louis and the organizers and predecessors who uplifted her along the way. She gave a moving account of her personal experience as a Black woman in our health care system, and how the quality of her prenatal care posed a real danger to her life and the lives of her children.
Congresswoman Bush gave us invaluable advice on what it means to be a part of this movement: “The question isn’t how can I be an activist, how can I be an advocate, how can I be a good politician, or how can I be a good volunteer; the question is what do I have to bring, and how can I use it to help people?”
At the end of last month, Rep. Bush brought her lived experience and used it to help people by sleeping on the Capitol steps to demand the federal government extend the national eviction moratorium. She told NPR: “We're in the middle of a global deadly pandemic as we speak that is surging... We cannot afford to have anywhere from 7 million to 11 million people now on the street. We didn't correct the housing crisis we already had.” The direct action was successful: the CDC extended the ban for most of the country, protecting millions of families from becoming unhoused.
Medicaid Expansion Update: Newly Eligible Missourians Can Apply Now!
Have you tried to get Missouri Medicaid before and did not qualify? Check again! The rules have changed. More adults can get low-cost or free health insurance through MO HealthNet. Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri is here to help people enroll. Free virtual help is available to all Missourians. In-person assistance is available at the Joplin and Springfield health centers. To make an appointment, email [email protected].
Plan to enroll on your own? Here are our tips:
- You may receive a message from the pre-screening tool that you are not eligible. You can hit “next” to continue with the application.
- If you received medical services on or after July 1, 2021, Medicaid may cover those costs. Include this information in your application.