The Missouri Senate passed a budget bill Wednesday that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion chain of taxpayer dollars.
The Kansas City Star reports the bill passed 25-7 with bipartisan support after several Democrat lawmakers’ attempts to remove the defunding item failed. The bill now heads to the state House.
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion group in the U.S. It reports billion-dollar revenues while aborting more than 350,000 unborn babies a year, and it runs the only abortion facility in Missouri.
The spending bill defunds Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups, their affiliates and associates of state tax dollars by appropriating zero dollars to them through the state Medicaid program, according to the Missouri Independent.
Samuel Lee, director of Campaign Life Missouri, praised the bill, saying it protects taxpayers from being forced to fund abortion facilities and their affiliates.
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A past effort by the state legislature to defund the abortion chain was struck down in court, but Lee told LifeNews that he believes this budget bill “fully complies with what was set forth by the Missouri Supreme Court in its unanimous Medicaid Expansion ruling.”
Still, several Democrat lawmakers tried to amend the bill to exclude the defunding line, calling it “unconstitutional” and a waste of time.
“The courts have already told us that this legislation through this budget process is unconstitutional,” said Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, asked, according to the Star. “Why are we going through it again? Why are we wasting the taxpayers time and money?”
Schupp said Planned Parenthood sees about 7,600 patients a year, and defunding it would leave many without health care, St. Louis Today reports.
State Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, said Missourians have access to many federally qualified health centers that offer more comprehensive health care than abortion groups. He said state taxpayers do not want their money to support groups that abort unborn babies, according to the report.
“This is not the kind of funding that we want to do in Missouri,” Hegeman said. “We’ve had a position in the state of Missouri for the past number of years, much to your chagrin, of us not funding facilities that provide abortions and … affiliates of those facilities.”
After the vote, Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, slammed the bill as “unpopular and illegal.”
But polls consistently show Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortions.
For years, lawmakers in Missouri and other states have been trying to defund Planned Parenthood and other 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. Texas recently won a victory in court and succeeded in defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups of millions of tax dollars last year.
Planned Parenthood leaders argued that the change will hurt Missourians’ access to health care, but the abortion chain does not provide much health care. Former CEO Leana Wen said its “core mission” is abortion. And its own annual reports show that the few actual health services that it does provide, such as birth control, cancer screenings and sterilizations, have been dropping steadily in recent years, while its abortion numbers have been increasing.
While Medicaid funds do not pay for abortions directly (Planned Parenthood is lobbying federal lawmakers to change that), they do indirectly fund Planned Parenthood’s vast abortion business. According to its most recently annual report, it received $616.8 million in government funding nationally, approximately 90 percent of which came from Medicaid.
Missourians support legal protections for unborn babies, and it likely would be one of 26 states that would ban abortions completely if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
A 2021 poll from Saint Louis University/YouGov found that 56 percent of Missourians support legislation to ban abortions after eight weeks, including 57 percent of women. In contrast, 33 percent said they oppose such legislation and 11 percent said they are not sure.