Missouri Governor Blunt Pulls Funding From Planned Parenthood Program

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Governor Blunt Pulls Funding From Planned Parenthood Program

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 20
, 2007

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Missouri Governor Matt Blunt announced on Monday that he is pulling state taxpayer funding of a Planned Parenthood program that provides breast cancer screenings. Pro-life advocates applaud the move saying tax dollars shouldn’t fund the nation’s largest abortion business.

Blunt said his administration found that previous governors had programmed taxpayer money to go to Planned Parenthood in Springfield and Joplin through the Show Me Healthy Women Program.

That’s the state-funded program that offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings to thousands of Missouri women who meet specific residency, age and income guidelines.

In a press statement about the move that LifeNews.com obtained, Blunt said he yanked funding because "Patients should not have to go to an abortion clinic to access life saving tests."

"Today I put an end to taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood in Springfield and Joplin through the [program]," he said. "This ensures women may access important preventative care without contributing to abortion providers’ goal of facilitating the destruction of innocent life."

Instead of funding Planned Parenthood, the Jordan Valley Community Health Center will be expanding their program to provide more screenings for women and Joplin’s Ozark Tri County Health Care will participate in the screenings as well.

The action stopped the remainder of the $27,000 in annual funding that Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri was expecting.

Kellie Rohrbaugh, director of public affairs for the pro-abortion group, said she was surprised to get the word on Monday that the funding would be stopped in 30 to 60 days. She said two of the four regional Planned Parenthood offices in the state do abortions but hers doesn’t. It does, however, provide abortion referrals.

Rohrbaugh called Blunt’s announcement “shocking” and “misguided,” in an interview with the Joplin Globe.

But pro-life advocates say the move makes sense — especially noting that studies show abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.

State funding of Planned Parenthood has been a contentious issue for years and the Missouri Supreme Court ruled last August that Missouri Planned Parenthood did not have to repay the state about $900,000 in wasn’t supposed to receive in family planning funds.

The state Health Department wrongly awarded the money to Planned Parenthood despite language in the state budget preventing family planning dollars from going to abortion facilities.
County Circuit Judge Werner Moentmann ruled in June 2005 that a prohibition on state family planning dollars going to affiliates of abortion businesses was constitutional.

But the state’s high court reversed him on a 4-3 ruling. It said there was no legal ground to justify making Planned Parenthood pay back the taxpayer money.

Blunt was critical of the decision and said it “undermines the Legislature’s ability to spend tax dollars in accord with the values of Missourians."