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Missouri's GOP Gov. Parson signs bill to kick Planned Parenthood off Medicaid

The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City
The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday signed legislation to once again try to kick Planned Parenthood out of the state's Medicaid program.

Parson's signature could mean Missouri joins a small band of states — Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas, according to Planned Parenthood — to have successfully blocked Medicaid funding for the organization.

“Our administration has been the strongest pro-life administration in Missouri history,” Parson said. “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."

In Missouri, Republicans have tried for years to block Medicaid funding from going to Planned Parenthood clinics because of its association with abortion. That has continued even though Planned Parenthood no longer performs abortions in Missouri.

A state law prohibiting most abortions took effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a nationwide right to abortion in June 2022.

Defunding efforts in the state have been repeatedly thwarted in the courts. A February Missouri Supreme Court ruling found that lawmakers’ latest attempt at defunding Planned Parenthood was unconstitutional.

“This bill not only defies the ruling of Missouri’s highest court but also flouts federal Medicaid law,” the region's Planned Parenthood center said in a statement. “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.”

Missouri Planned Parenthood plans to continue treating Medicaid patients at no cost, according to the organization.

Meanwhile, abortion-rights advocates last week turned in more than twice the needed number of signatures to put a proposal to legalize abortion on the Missouri ballot this year.

Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's office still needs to verify the signatures. But supporters have said they are confident they will qualify for the ballot.

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