Prohibition of Medicaid reimbursements to abortion providers becomes Missouri law

Earlier this year, the Missouri Supreme Court overruled an attempt by the state to eliminate funding for abortion providers through the state budget.

Published: May 9, 2024 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

When Missouri’s new law ending Medicaid funding for abortion providers or affiliates takes effect, a campaign might be underway to overturn it during the November election.

Almost two years after Missouri’s trigger law ended abortion in the state on the same day of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs case, Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed House Bill 2634 into law. Even though abortion is illegal and legislators discovered the state hasn’t paid any reimbursements to any abortion providers or affiliates in two years, the bill’s sponsors stated it was necessary to pass legal muster.

Earlier this year, the Missouri Supreme Court overruled an attempt by the state to eliminate funding for abortion providers through the state budget. Now separate from the budget bill, legislators believe the law will stand in the courts.

“This same model has been upheld in another state that has already attempted to do (this) and in the same Federal Circuit we're in,” Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold, and a candidate for her party’s nomination for secretary of state, told reporters last month when the bill passed out of the House.

Last week, approximately 380,000 signatures were delivered to Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft by Missourians for Constitutional Freedom to place on the November ballot a measure to legalize abortion. The initiative also would mandate state reimbursements to abortion providers.

The signature certification results are required to be announced in August and the law Parson signed on Thursday will take effect on Aug. 28.

“Gov. Parson may have signed the bill, but the fight for reproductive rights and health care access is far from over!” Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “We won't stand idly by as politicians play games with people's lives. Every person deserves quality health care, including access to Planned Parenthood.”

Members of the Republican Freedom Caucus in the Missouri Senate threatened to stop progress on all bills unless Parson immediately signed the bill when it reached his desk in late April. In a reply reported by many media outlets, Parson’s office said he would review and sign bills on his own timeline.

"Our administration has been the strongest pro-life administration in Missouri history," Parson said in a statement announcing the signing. "We've ended all elective abortions in this state, approved new support for mothers, expecting mothers and children and, with this bill, ensured that we are not sending taxpayer dollars to abortion providers for any purpose. We thank members of the General Assembly for recognizing this important issue and sending this legislation to my desk."

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