JACKSON, Miss. — The Republican governor of Mississippi has signed a bill cutting the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, as well as the state’s sole surgical abortion facility, from its Medicaid program.
“Happy to sign Senate Bill 2238. Taxpayer dollars should not fund abortions,” Tweeted Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday.
The bill had been sponsored by Sen. Joey Fillingane and only applies to facilities that perform non-therapeutic abortions. Therapeutic abortions are those performed due to fetal abnormalities or the life or health of the mother.
“[T]he division shall not authorize payment of part or all of the costs of care and services rendered by any entity that performs non-therapeutic abortions, maintains or operates a facility where non-therapeutic abortions are performed, or is affiliated with such an entity,” it reads in part.
“For purposes of this provision, ‘nontherapeutic abortions’ means abortions that are not qualified for federal matching funds under the Medicaid program,” the bill clarifies.
As previously reported, the sole Planned Parenthood location in Mississippi only provides referrals for abortions, but lawmakers believe that the state should not be affiliated with the organization. The Hattiesburg location had been receiving occasional reimbursement for birth control.
“You are the company you keep, and by Mississippi reimbursing Planned Parenthood through Medicaid, we are keeping that company,” Senate Medicaid Committee Chairman Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, told reporters.
Fillingane outlined that Planned Parenthood refers mothers to the Jackson abortion facility and others out of state, and so he believes it is all the same in aiding an organization that helps women obtain abortions. He said that there are a number of entities in the state that provide women’s health services that aren’t involved with abortion.
“There are many other non-Planned Parenthood clinics and agencies that can provide these other services that the critics want to talk about,” Fillingane said.
“So it’s not as though you’re denying any services to, you know, poor women or women that can’t afford these treatments. They can go to the local health departments and get the same type of service that they can get at this clinic,” he continued. “The only difference is The Mississippi Department of Health and the health clinics are not also providing abortions, and so the monies that we send to those agencies do not also subsidize abortions in the state or in this country.”
Diane Derzis, a professing Christian who operates Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the last remaining surgical abortion facility in Mississippi—told liberal radio host Alan Colmes last October that even she hoped Planned Parenthood would be defunded.
“I agree that Planned Parenthood should be defunded. Absolutely,” she said. “They actually do more abortions than anyone in the country, even though they talk about doing only three percent, that’s not quite accurate—they do more than anyone in the country. And they are the Walmart of abortion. I’m not a Planned Parenthood defender here.”
Planned Parenthood is stated to perform approximately 40 percent of all abortions in America. In its annual report released at the end of December, the national office of Planned Parenthood outlined that the organization performed 323,999 abortions nationwide during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The bill stripping the organization of Medicaid reimbursement passed the Mississippi House 77 to 7 and the Senate 34 to 17. The law will now take effect on July 1.