Missouri is poised to strip additional providers from a state-run program that provides family planning services for uninsured women.
The budget lawmakers are sending to Gov. Eric Greitens contains a provision that prohibits hospitals and clinics from participating in the Missouri Women's State-Funded Health Services Program if the organization also provides abortion services, as defined by a state law for sexual education in schools.
The budget also cuts the program’s funding by $4.6 million.
A similar amendment last year, filed by Rep. Robert Ross, R-Yukon, eliminated organizations that provide abortions for reasons other than saving the mother’s life. The new rule also would cut out organizations that can refer women to abortion providers, a nearly universal practice.
That means patients insured through the program, like Alecia Deal, 37, may need to find another doctor. Her coverage currently pays for checkups, birth control and cancer screenings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in south St. Louis, which does not provide abortions but can provide a referral. Though limited, it’s the only health coverage she has.
“I’m trying to wrap my mind around why the government has anything to say about it,” Deal said.
Deal, a community health worker, signed up for the coverage after the birth of her third child in 2015. She became pregnant with her third child just three months after the birth of her second, and knew that access to contraception would be important afterwards. Though she doesn't personally agree with abortion, she said it's a strange reason for lawmakers to cut a provider out of a family planning program.
“If you encourage family planning, it will reduce the need for abortion,” said Deal, who lives in St. Louis. “Not that it’s going to eradicate that, but it’s going to reduce it tremendously.”
Missouri lawmakers, St. Louis Public Radio 14 Comments
[5/18/2017 12:52:15 AM]
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