The Missouri General Assembly this week voted to defund Planned Parenthood, effectively preventing any state funding from going to the abortion giant through the state budget. Missouri receives approximately $8 million annually in federal funds through the Medicaid program for “family planning.” Federal regulations do not allow the state to exclude Planned Parenthood from the federal program that funds these services.
This year, however, budget chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer made changes to the budget, declining the federal funds for family planning and replacing them with $10.7 million in state general revenue. The state funds do not have the same restrictions on who qualifies for the money. “Women are still free to go to Planned Parenthood for services,” Schaefer said on the floor of the Senate yesterday. “State funds just will not be available to pay for any services rendered there.”
The approved state budget will therefore not permit any state funds to go to Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers, even for non-abortion related services. Non-abortion “family planning” will still be available through the numerous federally qualified health clinics (FQHC’s) operated throughout the state.
A number of other states have tried to defund Planned Parenthood by excluding the abortion giant from their Medicaid “family planning” programs funded with federal dollars. These efforts have failed, because courts have struck them down as a violation of the program. Whether Missouri’s efforts to fund family planning with only state dollars will stand the test of time remains to be seen. The MCC expects legal challenges to Sen. Schaefer’s efforts, but we are hopeful this particular defunding strategy will prove successful.