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Planned Parenthood May Lose Funds

May 04, 1999
By: David Grebe
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 10

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Senators are mired in debate over banning "partial birth" abortions - but that's not the only abortion rights quagmire lawmakers need to resolve by Friday's deadline.

Some Missouri lawmakers are working to ensure Planned Parenthood can't get any of the state's family planning funds.

In February, the courts upheld the state's earlier decision to deny funding to family planning services that also offer abortion.

Planned Parenthood says they can separate services - and continue to offer abortions while receiving family planning money.

But lawmakers are trying to make that near-impossible.

"We don't want direct - or indirect - funding of abortion," said Rep. Bill Luetkenhaus, D-St. Charles County.

And new language in this year's appropriation bill makes it clear they mean business. It prohibits abortion providers and family planning clinics from sharing heating, air conditioning, employees, benefit packages - and prohibits clinics from making referrals to abortion providers.

"I don't think they can continue to get state money - unless they dramatically change the way they do business," said Sam Lee, Campaign for Life Missouri.

"That would be fine with us, because then they'd be out of the abortion business," he added.

The language is "pretty much worked out," said Sen. Wayne Goode, D-St. Louis County, an abortion rights supporter. Senators needed to reach compromise to avoid more delays this session.

"It's not as drastic as the Senate language," said Rep. Dick Franklin, D-Franklin. Franklin said he still doesn't like the language - but there's little abortion rights supporters could do.

"We don't have the votes," he said.

Abortion rights supporters - and opponents - conceded the likelihood of additional litigation.

"We'll take whatever action is necessary to keep offering services to these women," said Leah Edelman, lobbyist for Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, Columbia's Planned Parenthood clinic has stopped offering abortion. "We anticipate it will open," Edelman said, pointing out that they need to first know what the new rules are.

"I only hope this is the last time we spend all of this time and effort and money on what should be settled," Edelman said.