On Friday, June 8th, Missouri enacted a rule which prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving any Medicaid reimbursement payments by suspending the abortion giant’s Medicaid provider number.
This action was done to fulfill part of the 2018 budgeting decision which required funds to be cut off from abortion providers and counselors and to specifically carry out a provision in a bill appropriating funds for the Department of Social Services. The abortion provider is quite unhappy and claims the bill is unnecessary because Medicaid funds are already prohibited from covering abortions “except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.”
However, Planned Parenthood deliberately fails to mention that money is fungible: money given for service “x” frees up money to put towards service “y” if services “x” and “y” use the same space, equipment, or employee’s time.
Specifically, money provided by Medicaid for non-abortion services is helping pay for the rent, utilities, equipment, and technology of the same physical space where abortions take place.
Medicaid funds are going toward staff paychecks for people who work with clients getting abortions and those not getting abortions. Therefore, Medicaid reimbursements are indirectly and sometimes directly helping fund abortions.
This rule came after a Federal judge last week denied Planned Parenthood an injunction concerning regulation of abortion clinics. Missouri passed a law last year requiring providers of medication abortions to have “a contract with an obstetrician/gynecologist with admitting privileges at a local hospital available at all hours of the day.”
Because of the law, the denied injunction, and the fact no OB/GYNs will partner with them, Planned Parenthood facilities in Columbia and Springfield will continue to be unable to provide medication abortions.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood centers in Missouri which do offer abortions (KC, St. Louis, and Columbia) are finding it harder and harder to stay in business for a variety of reasons, one of which is the lack of demand for abortion services.
Many women are also not returning after the mandatory 72 hour waiting period and instead are making use of the resources offered by sidewalk counselors.
Planned Parenthood is moving forward with their lawsuit against regulations of medication abortion providers, but the case will not be heard until March 2019.
Until then, pro-life advocates can celebrate the halt in Medicaid funds going to the abortion provider. With a lack of Medicaid funding and a future decrease in government funding from Title X grants, Missouri may soon be a state free of abortion clinics.
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