A note from Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri
Planned Parenthood health centers are closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus 2019 disease, or COVID-19. The health and safety of our patients, staff, and community is our top priority. At this time, we are taking all appropriate precautionary measures and will continue to do so. To find the health center closest to you, visit plannedparenthood.org/health-center or call 1.800.230.PLAN to schedule an appointment.
We are dedicated and committed to our mission of providing the highest quality sexual and reproductive health care in our communities. Our doors are open, and we are continuing to see patients at our health centers, with appropriate screening precautions in place.
COVID-19: Call Senators Blunt & Hawley
Planned Parenthood has been a trusted provider and partner in public health for over 100 years, and has always done everything possible to get people the care they need. Now, more than ever, we need leaders who will do the same: expand access to health care, instead of undermining it.
This is a national emergency that requires a smart, humane, and swift response. Call Senators Blunt and Hawley now and demand they pass the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” immediately.
MoLeg Update: COVID-19
Things are rapidly changing as we learn more about COVID-19 and the government’s response to it. The Missouri Senate adjourned last week to begin its spring break a week earlier than scheduled. As of now, senators plan to return on March 30. House lawmakers are working to pass the state budget by Thursday of this week, and then they plan to adjourn until at least March 30 as well. Days after Gov. Parson declared a public health emergency, the majority of the Missouri House Budget committee voted to take away critical preventive health funding for patients with low incomes. It’s unconscionable for Gov. Parson and legislative leadership to “defund” safety-net providers like Planned Parenthood while Missouri is struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Legislature is constitutionally mandated to pass a budget by May 8, so the Senate will have to return to Jefferson City at some point. Beyond that, it is unclear when or even whether this legislative session will continue.
Planned Parenthood Advocates will continue to monitor the situation and keep supporters posted on what’s happening in the state capital.
- Springfield News-Leader: Missouri Senate goes home early as House leaders spar over coronavirus response
Extreme Gerrymandering Bills Moving Forward in the House
It is unclear when or whether lawmakers will resume regular activities this year, but Planned Parenthood Advocates will remain vigilant and continue to monitor bills that impact patients and all Missourians.
Missourians voted nearly 2-to-1 for Amendment 1. It passed in every single state senate district, from rural areas to big cities. Voters were clear that we wanted fair maps and a legislature that’s more responsive to the people — which is why Planned Parenthood Advocates and supporters worked so hard to pass it.
The 2020 legislative session is the last chance for lobbyists and politicians to set things up for gerrymandered maps for the next decade — and they’re pushing ahead to do just that, even though it means disregarding voters’ will.
SJR 38, HJR 115, and HJRs 101 & 76 are about rigging the maps to protect politicians. Here’s how:
- Rig the process – so lobbyists and operatives can make backroom deals
- Rig the criteria – to protect politicians from voter accountability (the plan is so extreme that it would make Missouri the only state in the country that could refuse to count kids when drawing legislative maps. That’s more than 1.4 million Missourians who wouldn’t be represented!)
- Rig the rules – so gerrymandered maps can’t be fixed
It’s clear that the SJR 38, HJR 115 and HJRs 101 & 76 gerrymandering plans are not what Missourians voted for. Tell your state representative to respect the will of the voters, protect fair maps and vote NO on bills that would rig the maps to protect politicians.
- Take Action: Protect Fair Maps and Stop Extreme Gerrymandering
Recap: Advocates meet with Rep. Swan in Cape Girardeau
Planned Parenthood supporters Gabrielle Baffoni, Stacy Lane, and Jessica Strunk arranged a meeting with Rep. Kathy Swan on Friday, March 6 to discuss health care access in Southeast Missouri. They discussed the previous two years' budget bills being used to try and block patients from getting their preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers, STI testing at the Cape Girardeau County Health Center, and how to increase access to comprehensive and accessible health care in SEMO.
The advocates left the meeting feeling empowered, and mentioned that Rep. Swan, who sits on the influential House Budget Committee, offered to look into how she could help her fellow women and constituents in Southeast Missouri access the health care they need.
Recap: Black Maternal Health Shop Talk
On February 28, in honor of Black History Month, Planned Parenthood Advocates organized a Shop Talk focused on black maternal health in Missouri. Twenty community members gathered at Progressive Emporium, a Black-owned bookstore in St. Louis, to share stories and discuss Missouri’s rising maternal mortality rate. Teranga Grill, a local Black-owned restaurant, provided delicious Afro-Caribbean food.
The conversation was geared toward educating and activating the community around this important issue while the Missouri Legislature is in session. Our state ranks 44th in the U.S., with nearly 92 black mothers dying from preventable pregnancy-related complications for each 100,000 live births. Participants learned ways to advocate and support representatives from Jamaa Birth Village, the Missouri State Legislature, and the Medicaid Expansion coalition, and volunteers signed up to participate in actions during the upcoming Black Maternal Health Week, April 11-17.
Recap: Missouri Movement Summit
Five Planned Parenthood staff and two volunteers attended the statewide Missouri Movement Summit in Jefferson City last month. The four-day summit provided training on multiple levels of grassroots organizing and how to effectively build and maintain relationships with community members. More than 75 people from all corners of the state, representing 13 progressive organizations, attended the summit.