The Missouri Legislature has approved a budget for the coming year that guarantees that no state government funding will be allocated to affiliates of Planned Parenthood.
Legislators approved an amendment to an appropriation bill that prohibits state agencies from providing reimbursement for health care services to any provider that also performs abortions.
The budget amendment was offered by Representative Robert Ross of Yukon, and will have its major impact on services that qualify for reimbursement under the Medicaid program.
The Missouri General Assembly had adopted similar restrictive language in the budget two years ago, but Representative Ross says that Planned Parenthood had concocted a "shell game" to still access state funding.
Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick of Shell Knob says that the latest amendment will close a "loophole" that Planned Parenthood exploited to secure state taxpayer funding.
M'evie Mead, director of policy for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, argues that the Legislature's action will increase infant and maternal mortality rates in the state.
Yet Medicaid-eligible pregnant women will still be able to access the same services at county health departments, rural health clinics, and other federally qualified health centers.
The budget approved for fiscal year 2019 includes $15.7 million for the "Show-Me Healthy Babies" program, which provides health care coverage for children from lower-income families that do not qualify for Medicaid.
Also included in the budget is $6.5 million for alternatives to abortion programs that are provided by pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and other agencies, to assist women with unplanned pregnancies.
In a desperation move to salvage state funding for Planned Parenthood, pro-abortion protesters showed up at the State Capitol dressed like characters from the television show "The Handmaid's Tale."
The red-robed women argued that the Missouri Legislature was forcing women into "reproductive slavery." Missouri government's new fiscal year begins on July 1st.