The state House’s budget includes language that would keep money from going to any organization that provides abortions. Planned Parenthood is the only such organization in Missouri.
The state Senate begins work on that proposal Tuesday. Senate Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) says there are other places women can go to get the non-abortion services Planned Parenthood provides.
“We have county health departments that deliver medical services to women as well as FQHCs and rural health clinics and they don’t have the surrounding controversy that Planned Parenthood has,” said Schaefer.
“We’ll obviously look very closely at what the House did and I think that what they did is appropriate. The question is, ‘Is the way they did it the best way to do it?’ and that’s something that we’re going to look at.”
Critics say other providers in the state wouldn’t be able to meet the demand of picking up all of Planned Parenthood’s patients.
The House’s budget proposal would cut $8.6-million from the University of Missouri and would give MU no increase in performance funding. That is largely because many lawmakers are upset with how MU responded to protests on its Columbia campus in the fall.
Schaefer headed up a committee that looked at Planned Parenthood’s relationship with the University, and is one of those who accuses the University of displaying a lack of leadership during those protests.
“When you look at this issue of public funding and right off the top, kind of what happened in the fall with the lack of leadership, so it doesn’t appear that public funding is being used in an accountable or transparent way there, then on top that a public institution is actually enabling abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic which is in direct violation of state law that says public funds and public institutions may not enable abortion or abortion services, I think plays into the overall picture of, what on Earth is going on at the University of Missouri?”
Planned Parenthood has argued that the University did not violate any laws in its hospital’s extension of limited privileges to the doctor that was performing drug-induced abortions at the Columbia facility.
As for state aid to MU, some lawmakers say if the University is to respond to issues regarding racism and diversity, the legislature should give it the budget resources to respond, and say cuts will result in tuition hikes.