Government & Politics

Parson signs budget that blocks funding to Missouri Planned Parenthood clinics

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson

Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed the state's $28.6 billion budget, including a provision aimed at cutting off public funding from Planned Parenthood.

The budget includes language blocking Medicaid reimbursement for services by health care providers that also perform abortions. The cut, added as an amendment to the budget in the Missouri House, is specifically designed to target Planned Parenthood.

There is already a prohibition on using federal money to fund abortions. The Medicaid reimbursements affected by the state budget are for other women's health services that Planned Parenthood provides.

The Missouri Department of Social Services sent letters to Planned Parenthood clinics in St. Louis and Kansas City earlier this year notifying them that any claims for Medicaid reimbursement sent after June 8 will be suspended because those claims would have to be paid in July, after the new fiscal year starts.

M'Evie Mead, director of policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, called the effort to block funding to her organization a "cruel attack on Missourians most in need."

The governor "has let down thousands of Missourians who depend on Planned Parenthood for their health care," Mead said. "He has ripped a hole in Missouri’s already-strained safety net. Gov. Parson, where will these thousands of patients go for birth control, cancer screenings and STI testing?”

The budget bills signed Friday include a $99 million increase in the K-12 school foundation funding formula, $12 million for school busing and $8.4 million for early childhood special education. The state's public universities and colleges saw their funding held stable in exchange for a cap on tuition increases, and state workers are slated to get a pay increase.

“We’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to the dedicated men and women who help year-round craft a fiscally-responsible, balanced budget," Parson said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Parson traveled the state this week highlighting several sections of the budget, including $8.2 million for capital improvements for river port expansion, $2 million to expand access at the Fort Leonard Wood airport and $2 million for community college workforce development.

The governor also issued 21 line-item vetoes totaling more than $12 million.

Many of his vetoes targeted projects on university campuses, including $1 million for Missouri Southern State University, $750,000 for Harris-Stowe State University, $666,667 for Crowder College, $333,333 for Northwest Missouri State University, $250,000 for Three Rivers Community College and $233,333 for Truman State University.

He also vetoed $1 million in funding for volunteer firefighter workers' compensation grants and $1 million to help the state buy homes contaminated by nuclear waste in north St. Louis County.