Missouri House lawmakers considered legislation Wednesday that would defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups of state taxpayer dollars.
Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar abortion chain that does about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S. Nation-wide, it receives hundreds of millions of tax dollars annually. It also runs the only abortion facility in Missouri.
For years, lawmakers in Missouri and other states have been trying to defund Planned Parenthood and abortion groups of tax dollars, but only a few have succeeded. In many cases, their efforts have been thwarted by pro-abortion lawmakers and court orders from activist judges.
In Missouri, new legislation, House Bill 1854, sponsored by state Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, would disqualify abortion groups and their affiliates from receiving state Medicaid funds through the state Department of Health and Senior Services. The bill also would disqualify entities from the taxpayer-funded program if there is a “conviction of crimes related to fraud and patient care” or if they show “patterns of discrimination,” according to the bill summary.
The News Tribune reports lawmakers and advocates on both sides of the abortion debate discussed Schroer’s bill during the hearing Wednesday.
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“It fully defunds Planned Parenthood pursuant to the [Missouri] Supreme Court decision, giving guidance to the Legislature, and also enacts protections at the state level to ensure that your tax dollars are not subsidizing the heinous act of abortion,” Schroer said.
In 2020, the state Supreme Court struck down a measure to defund abortion groups in the state budget, calling it a “clear and unmistakable violation” of the state Constitution.
Now, lawmakers are trying a different route, specific legislation to strip abortion groups of state taxpayer dollars.
“This is a very important issue to the pro-life community, and it has been for decades,” said Samuel Lee, director of Campaign Life Missouri, during the hearing. “I want to go back to the fact that the Missouri Supreme Court in June of 2020 said if the legislature wants to defund Planned Parenthood you have to do it by statute.”
One pro-life lawmaker, state Rep. Tony Lovasco, R-O’Fallon, raised concerns about language in the bill regarding discrimination, according to the report. Lovasco said he fully supports defunding abortion groups, but specific language in the bill about eugenics and discrimination could be a problem.
“I am concerned that perhaps using a set of least political views by a founder of an organization as a test to determine whether they qualify — we might be on some shaky First Amendment grounds there,” he said.
The language he was referring to involves disqualifying groups that have “a pattern of intentional discrimination in the delivery or nondelivery of any health care item or service based on the race, color, or national origin of recipients, as described in 42 U.S.C. Section 2000d, or was founded by a person who supported eugenics as the solution for racial, political, and social problems and who advocated for the use of birth control for ‘the elimination of the unfit’ and stopping ‘the reproduction of the unfit.’”
Schroer said the language refers to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, a eugenicist who believed certain groups of human beings were “unfit” to have children.
Similar legislation to defund abortion groups, Senate Bill 637, was introduced by state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, this year. Another bill, Senate Joint Resolution 34 filed by state Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, would amend the state constitution to prohibit any tax dollars from being paid to individuals or facilities that perform abortions.
Nationally, Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions of tax dollars every year, the majority of it through Medicaid. Though the federal government and most states, including Missouri, prohibit taxpayer funding for abortions in Medicaid, pro-life leaders say the money that goes to Planned Parenthood still indirectly supports the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
Also, Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups currently are lobbying U.S. Congress to get rid of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for most abortions in the federal Medicaid program. Without the Hyde Amendment, Americans would be forced to pay for the killing of potentially tens of thousands of unborn babies in elective abortions every year.
Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar abortion chain that aborts more unborn babies than any other group in the U.S. Its most recent annual report listed more than 354,000 abortions, or about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S. that year. Its annual reports also show billion-dollar revenues, including hundreds of millions of tax dollars.
According to its 2018-2019 annual report, Planned Parenthood received $616.8 million in government funding nationally, approximately 90 percent of which came from Medicaid reimbursements.