As the U.S. Supreme Court wrestles with a case that will affect the future of abortion access nationwide, Missouri Representative Cori Bush is urging the Biden administration to enforce Medicaid law in order to assist Planned Parenthood's patients in Missouri.
Bush's plea comes as Republican lawmakers in Missouri are increasingly moving to further restrict non-abortion family planning services, like birth control or STI testing and treatment, in the state. In a November 30 letter,
Bush urged Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to “ensure that none of the actions taken by the state of Missouri interfere with patients’ right to health care."
At issue are attempts by lawmakers to Medicaid eligibility for services offered by Planned Parenthood.
In her letter, Bush argued, “As the Congresswoman for Missouri’s First District, a Black woman who has utilized Medicaid and also faced systemic barriers in accessing health care, and a nurse who has worked on the frontlines of patient care, I urge the administration to denounce all actions that prevent Medicaid patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood and any other abortion-providing health centers.”
Lawmakers are “tempting the boundaries of Medicaid law” by issuing new Medicaid rules for abortion providers, Bush wrote. The new rules
require state inspectors to report any rule violations by abortion providers directly to Medicaid auditors, which will then allow the state to pull Medicaid funding.
Bush called the actions a “desperate attempt” to punish people with low income who rely on Medicaid support, and which will harm women, people of color and those who live in rural Missouri who travel to Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic for preventive health care such as cancer screenings and birth control.
This is not the first time Bush has gone to bat for abortion rights. Recently, she testified to Congress about her experience as an abortion patient. She also attended a “Stop Abortion Bans” rally
with St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones after Texas placed a strict ban on abortion after the six-week mark of pregnancy in September.
Jones spoke out Wednesday on Twitter
, as well, renewing the city’s commitment to protecting abortion access.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over a Mississippi law restricting abortion. The case presents a direct challenge to the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade
that legalized abortion in 1973. Accounts of the deliberations today suggest the conservative-majority court will uphold the Mississippi law
, the Associated Press
At one point, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by former President Donald Trump, asked why the court should make this decision instead of individual states. If the court does in fact toss abortion access back to the states, abortion would become illegal or severely limited in about half of the nation, according to research by the Guttmacher Institute
You can read Bush's full letter here
Note: This article has been updated from its original version for clarification.
Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at [email protected]
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