COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
An emergency regulation in Missouri goes into effect Wednesday which requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to turn over all its inspection reports on abortion providers. As the only abortion provider in Missouri, Planned Parenthood said this is a political attack on its Medicaid funding.
The emergency regulation comes from Republican Gov. Mike Parson's administration. The Department of Social Services will evaluate inspection reports on Planned Parenthood locations in Missouri to determine if they're following the rules and regulations set by the state and federal government. If not, all 11 locations stand to lose Medicaid funding.
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri held a press conference Wednesday morning. President and CEO Yamelsie Rodríguez told reporters the inspection reports do not reflect Planned Parenthood's ability to provide healthcare under Medicaid.
"The long-standing Hyde Amendment already prevents federal dollars from covering abortion services except in a very narrow set of exemptions," Rodríguez said.
Missouri Republicans have tried to take away Planned Parenthood's Medicaid funding before, making it all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court in 2020.
"Discriminating against Planned Parenthood and taking away patients' freedom to choose their provider threatens Missouri's standing in the Medicaid program and that could have a devastating impact on already dire public health outcomes in the state," Rodríguez said.
Nearly every day, anti-abortion groups gather outside the Columbia Planned Parenthood location with signs and pamphlets. They told ABC 17 News their goal is to provide safer alternatives to men and women seeking healthcare at Planned Parenthood.
"I think all women should, and men, have the opportunity for quality healthcare and I do not believe they get that through the Planned Parenthood facility," said Bonnie Lee with Team PLAY.
Lee, who has done her own research into the Planned Parenthood inspection reports, says the new emergency regulation may reveal some unsafe practices.
"Inspection after inspection after inspection showing they failed safety regulation and safety conditions, not just because they're regulated, but because their natural, I would say common safety requirements for any other clinic in our state, they fail them over and over again," Lee said.