State Cuts Family Planning, Funds ‘Alternatives’

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(WOMENSENEWS)–The Missouri legislature passed a revised budget for the state health department that would cut $5.1 million from family planning and other women’s health services but would continue to fund an “Alternatives to Abortion” program, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The family planning program, which funds Planned Parenthood in Missouri, was overseen by the health department and served an estimated 30,000 women in the state. The “Alternatives to Abortion” program only served about 650 women last year.

The Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report reported the cut would eliminate state funding for a program that provides reproductive health services for women who are uninsured but do not qualify for Medicaid. These services include family planning, gynecological exams, cancer screenings, physicals and various other medical testing for women.

The “Alternatives to Abortion” program, originally scheduled to end July 1, was restored by the state and would get $560,000 under the revised budget. The program prohibits contractors from using money for family planning services and participants must fill out a questionnaire to determine if they are “at risk” of having an abortion, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The program provides housing and utilities subsidies for pregnant women and also teaches parenting skills.

“We have eliminated services which either help people plan for pregnancies or find out if they are healthy enough to be pregnant,” said Democratic Representative Vicky Riback Wilson. “It doesn’t make any sense to me to put in a program that has so little oversight and so little accountability.”

–Samantha Xu

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