CNA Staff, Jul 3, 2020 / 03:12 am (CNA).- The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a provision that intended to cut Planned Parenthood off from Medicaid funding in the state.
The 6-1 ruling found the provision to be unconstitutional, according to an Associated Press report. The ruling mandates that Missouri tax dollars will fund contraception and some abortions in the state’s 11 Planned Parenthood clinics.
The ruling states that the provision is a “clear and unmistakable violation” of the Constitution, which does not allow the budget to determine matters of policy.
The decision was a blow to pro-life advocates in the state, who have consistently turned out pro-life legislation and court decisions in recent years.
Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed a comprehensive abortion ban into law in 2019, which set up a multi-tier ban on abortions after eight weeks, 14 weeks, 18 weeks and 20 weeks. In August of that year a federal judge struck down the bans, but retained a ban on abortions conducted solely because of the baby’s race, sex, or Down syndrome diagnosis.
Under Missouri law, abortion providers must distribute a booklet from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services which includes the statement: “The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.”
State law also includes a “trigger law” that immediately bans all abortions except for medical emergencies if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
In June of this year, a federal appellate court dismissed a lawsuit filed by a member of the Satanic Temple against Missouri’s informed consent abortion law. The court rejected the group’s claim that the law established Catholic religious belief by stating that life begins at conception.
Later that month, the Missouri health department issued a license to the state’s only abortion clinic, a Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis.
The license had been previously revoked due to health and safety concerns, including violating multiple state standards of sterilization and storing of equipment, and the proper documentation of medication and procedures.
However, the state’s Administrative Hearing Commission ruled that the department of health was wrong to deny the license, saying that Planned Parenthood had “substantially complied” with Missouri law. As a result, the clinic may remain operational.