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Missouri Right to Life disappointed with continued funding of Planned Parenthood

Pro-life leaders in Missouri expressed their disappointment on Wednesday after a special session ended with the state continuing funding Planned Parenthood.

Lawmakers were called into a special legislative session last week by Gov. Mike Parson to renew the Federal Reimbursement Allowance program. Under the program, hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies provide funds to the state, and MO HealthNet uses these funds to draw down matching federal dollars. The state collects approximately $1.6 billion, which draws down $2.9 billion in federal support. Parson told lawmakers he would have to cut $722 million from budget if the FRA wasn’t renewed.

“After the Missouri Senate passed the Federal Reimbursement Allowance for the Medicaid Program with no pro-life protections last week, the Missouri House did the same today,” said Steve Rupp, president of Missouri Right to Life. “While the House introduced and passed a standalone bill that would have protected Missouri taxpayers from funding the destruction of innocent human life, the Missouri Senate refused to consider the standalone bill and adjourned the extraordinary session with only the passage of SB 1, the FRA with no pro-life protections.

“Missouri Right to Life and other pro-life groups stood together in our opposition to funding abortion providers through the FRA. Planned Parenthood heavily lobbied the legislature for no pro-life protections and the continued funding and subsidization of their abortion business.”

The sponsor of the bill noted the legislature had previously moved to defund Planned Parenthood through language contained in the state operating budget. However, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that the Missouri Constitution prohibits lawmakers from using appropriations bills to create policy. HB 2 is meant to comply with the constitution by implementing the language in a policy bill.

The sponsor also noted the bill contains provisions to protect the state from a possible repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. The bill makes it clear that no federal act, law, order, rule or regulation can infringe on the rights of the people of Missouri to encourage childbirth over abortion in the use of taxpayer funds, and to restrict public funds from being used to perform or assist in an abortion.

While SB 1 will now become law with the governor’s signature, HB 2 still requires Senate approval before moving to the governor’s desk.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice