One of the most intense political battles involving abortion is playing out in Missouri this year.
From a link between the taxpayer funded University of Missouri and abortion clinics, to Planned Parenthood withholding documents from a government investigation, to death threats involving a leading pro-life state Senator, abortion has been an intense topic in the state.
The latest news involves Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, who announced on Thursday that the state will continue funneling taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood at least temporarily, according to The News & Observer. The move appears to be in direct contradiction of a budgetary measure that the legislature approved this spring to defund the abortion business.
Here’s more from the report:
… Nixon said Thursday that state officials will eventually implement the budget’s ban on Medicaid money going to organizations that provide abortions. But the prohibition won’t start when the budget takes effect Friday, as Republican lawmakers had intended.
Nixon said the state must first solicit public comments and then get federal approval to change its women’s health program. He said that could take until 2017, and all current providers will continue to be funded until then.
Missouri likely will have a new governor by then. Nixon’s term ends in January, and he is barred by law from seeking re-election.
In April, Missouri lawmakers passed a budget that would take away hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars from abortion groups in the state, LifeNews reported. Missourinet reports the legislators approved the budget with a provision to give up $8 million in federal dollars, part of which would have gone to Planned Parenthood. Instead, the state budgeted state money to support community health centers that don’t do abortions, according to the report. The budget also prohibits any taxpayer dollars through Medicaid from going to groups that perform elective abortions.
Nixon called the budget measure “fiscally irresponsible” in his statement Thursday. He said that by defunding abortion groups, the state will lose federal money that it could have used for education or other programs.
“Failing to use these federal funds and expending additional state resources is unnecessary and inefficient,” Nixon said.
Some Missouri legislators were incredulous when they heard the governor’s plan to not implement the budgetary measures that both state houses approved.
State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, vice chair of the House Budget Committee, predicted that there will be “an uproar from the legislature.”
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood officials in Missouri told the news outlet that they did not receive any state notices about their funding being stopped. They said they will continue to submit reimbursement claims to the state for payment.
The effort to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups comes in response to a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood selling aborted babies’ body parts. Since the undercover videos revealed shocking and potentially illegal activity at Planned Parenthoods, a number of states have passed measures to end taxpayer funding to abortion businesses.
The issue has been especially contentious in Missouri, where Planned Parenthood officials refused to answer a state subpoena for records about their handling of aborted baby body parts. After facing possible consequences of jail time and fines, the abortion business eventually responded to the government subpoena.
Missouri state officials began investigating the Planned Parenthood abortion business after the Center for Medical Progress released the first of its shocking undercover videos last summer. St. Louis was mentioned in one undercover video as a possible location to obtain aborted baby parts. The investigation also revealed a relationship between Planned Parenthood and the University of Missouri.
In November, LifeNews reported state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a key pro-life leader in the state legislature, received a death threat, which he believes was linked to his leadership of the Planned Parenthood investigation.