Summer Ballentine/AP

Missouri Gov. Parson Signs Bill Banning Taxpayer Funds to Abortion Providers

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a bill into law on Thursday that bans abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving reimbursements from Medicaid.

It’s already illegal in the state for taxpayer dollars to directly fund abortions; HB 2634 modifies the rules so that no public funds can go to any facilities that provide abortions or to any “affiliates thereof.”

The previous statute allowed any MO HealthNet participant, including abortion providers, to receive money from the state’s Uninsured Women’s Health Program.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Cody Smith (R),  is aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood from public funds entirely. 

“House Bill 2634 simply codifies in our statutes that we will not allow abortion providers or their affiliates to be reimbursed through our state’s Medicaid program,” Smith said in an April statement once the bill passed the legislature. “I’m proud to champion legislation that ensures our taxpayer dollars do not support abortion facilities. This vote is a vote for life.”

“Our administration has been the strongest pro-life administration in Missouri history,” Gov. Parson said in a press release on Thursday. “We’ve ended all elective abortions in this state, approved new support for mothers, expecting mothers, and children, and, with this bill, ensured that we are not sending taxpayer dollars to abortion providers for any purpose.”

“We thank members of the General Assembly for recognizing this important issue and sending this legislation to my desk,” he added.

The move was criticized by Democrats as “extreme.”

“This bill is just another harsh attack on reproductive freedom deployed by the Missouri Republican Party, despite watching voters across the country repeatedly reject this extreme government overreach at the ballot box,” said Missouri Democrat Party Chair Russ Carnahan in a statement obtained by FOX2. 

“Missouri has one of the most extreme abortion bans on the books, and Missouri Republicans want to go further,” he complained.

The Great Plains and St. Louis chapters of Planned Parenthood made the following statement:

Governor Parson’s decision to sign this bill into law is deeply disappointing and harmful to the tens of thousands of Missourians who rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health care. This bill not only defies the ruling of Missouri’s highest court but also flouts federal Medicaid law. By denying Medicaid patients’ right to receive health care from Planned Parenthood, politicians are directly obstructing access to much-needed health services, including birth control, cancer screenings, annual wellness exams, and STI testing and treatment. 
Planned Parenthood health centers play a critical role in Missouri’s health care safety net. ‘Defunding’ Planned Parenthood risks the sustainability of the state’s entire health care system and the health of all Missourians who rely on it. We remain committed to fighting for the rights of all Missourians to access the care they need and deserve. We will do everything we can to continue serving our patients in Missouri and beyond with quality, compassionate, live-saving health care.

Pr0-abortion group Missourians for Constitutional Freedom and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) delivered more than 380,000 signatures to State Sec. Jay Ashcroft (R)’s office last week in hopes of asking voters later this year to overturn the state’s abortion ban. 

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