Missouri House Passes Ban on Contraceptive Funding

In a move that could have devastating effects on low-income women in Missouri, the state House of Representatives voted in favor of cutting off state funding of contraceptives and forbidding state-funded programs from referring women to other programs that would provide contraception. Instead, a portion of the more than $9 million marked for public-health programs will be redistributed away from contraceptive and infertility treatments and funneled to abortion alternative programs and prenatal care. The proposal was sponsored by Susan Phillips (R), who called contraceptive services an inappropriate use of state funds, reports the Kansas City Star. Phillips also told the Associated Press that the availability of contraceptives to single women amounted to the state saying “promiscuity is OK.”

Opponents of the measure include both pro-choice advocates and some abortion opponents, who believe that this measure will increase Missouri’s abortion rate. Representative Bob Johnson (R) pointed out that in rural areas, women would have no alternatives to state-funded health care programs. Rep. Kate Meiners (D) criticized the ban as well, telling the Associated Press “It’s going to have the opposite effect of what the intention is, which will be more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions.”

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Associated Press 3/16/06; Kaiser Network 3/17/06; Kansas City Star 3/16/06

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