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Missouri Republicans move to cut Planned Parenthood funds

by The Associated Press | September 24, 2021 at 3:20 p.m.
Missouri state lawmakers, many wearing masks, sit at their desks inside the House chamber of the Legislature in Jefferson City in this April 27, 2020, file photo. (AP/Jeff Roberson)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri lawmakers who want to halt all public funds to Planned Parenthood are recommending that the Legislature give Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration authority to cancel abortion providers’ Medicaid contracts based on behavior in other states deemed illegal or unethical.

The Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection approved a report with that recommendation on Thursday. Planned Parenthood is Missouri’s only abortion provider.

Abortion providers are already prohibited from using Medicaid funds for abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger or in the cases of rape or incest. Some lawmakers want to pull all public funds, including those for birth control, sexually transmitted disease treatments, cancer screenings and other health care for low-income women.

Democrats warned that the move would trigger a confrontation with the federal government that could threaten the overall Medicaid program.

Senate leaders created the interim committee to “deliver the knockout punch” to Planned Parenthood, The Kansas City Star reported.

The committee’s report says the Legislature should change state law to allow the Department of Social Services to cut contracts with any provider when it or its affiliates have “committed fraud, abuse, or unethical behavior and has been removed or prohibited from being a Medicaid provider in another state’s Medicaid program” based on behavior that would be grounds for suspension or cancellation in Missouri.

Texas has already blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds for non-abortion services.

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