The Mississippi Senate has voted to block state Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.
Less than $1,000 in Medicaid funding has been given to Planned Parenthood in each of the past five years in the state, and the only Planned Parenthood clinic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi does not perform abortions. Nevertheless, senators who voted to end that funding said they do not want Mississippi to spend taxpayer money on an organization that performs abortions in other states.
“You are the company you keep and by Mississippi reimbursing Planned Parenthood through Medicaid, we are keeping that company,” Mississippi Senate Medicaid Committee chairman Brice Wiggins (R) said, according to the Sun Herald.
State Senate bill 2238 was approved by a vote of 34-17, and now heads to the state House, where it is expected to pass as well. Opponents of the measure said Planned Parenthood is likely to sue the state – as it has others that have eliminated its Medicaid funding – if Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signs the legislation.
Mississippi State Rep. Steve Hopkins (R) tells Breitbart News one of the reasons why he and other conservatives were elected to the state House is to protect the unborn.
“In Mississippi our mission as conservatives is to fight for the unborn and that fight doesn’t involve walking in fear of Planned Parenthood,” he said. “The voters in our great state elected us to take a stand and they will not stand idly by and let those continue to serve who don’t have a steel backbone. If Planned Parenthood wants to pick a fight with a state it might want to pick one it can win.”
Wiggins said the bill, sponsored by State Sen. Joey Fillingane (R), was modeled after one from Texas and was introduced following the series of undercover videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress that exposed Planned Parenthood’s apparent practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies on the open market. Several of the videos alleged the abortion business alters the position of babies during abortion in order to harvest the most intact organs to sell to biotech companies. Currently, Planned Parenthood is under investigation by the U.S. Congress.
“The idea that we would take state tax dollars, which these are, and provide to an entity like Planned Parenthood, which is the number one abortion provider in the country, is just mind blowing,” Fillingane said, reports WDAM. “I can’t believe that we would do it, and when I found out that we were in fact making some small reimbursements to Planned Parenthood in Mississippi, I just had to file a bill.”
Fillingane said the bill does not restrict women’s health services since women in Mississippi can still obtain family planning and other services from many other health centers that are not affiliated with an abortion business like Planned Parenthood.
“So it’s not as though you’re denying any services to, you know, poor women or women that can’t afford these treatments,” he said. “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.”
Planned Parenthood’s Public Policy director for the southeastern region Felicia Brown-Williams, however, said the Hattiesburg Planned Parenthood clinic provides services that cannot be found elsewhere.
“What we know is that Mississippi is already facing a health provider shortage, and many providers will not accept Medicaid patients so we are there for the community in Hattiesburg as a healthcare provider that does accept Medicaid for family planning,” she said. “What we’re seeing right now is that the department of health is barely able to make its own payroll, and is shutting down health centers.”
“We have seen that this legislature is very much anti-women’s health and anti-women and families,” she said. “These legislators should be doing everything in their power to increase access to healthcare. Instead, the senate is attacking us, a trusted healthcare provider who’s been around for nearly 100 years and decreasing access to healthcare for the people who need it the most, and that doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Fillingane observed that even some Democrats in the state Senate voted for his bill.
“[M]ississippi is a very conservative, God-fearing state, and even some of the Democrats in our chamber, which, people typically think of Democrats as more liberal, but here in Mississippi, even many of your democrats are very pro-life and are very conservative by comparison to the national Democratic Party,” he said.
Anticipating the vote in the state House, state Rep. Dana Criswell (R) tells Breitbart News, “I am proud that our Senate has taken a stand against an organization that is guilty of harvesting and selling body parts of unborn children.”
“I believe the House will stand with our fellow legislators against this evil,” he continued. “Gov. Bryant has always stood strong in his defense of those who are weak and I believe he will stand against any organization that threatens the lives of unborn children in Mississippi.”
Brown-Williams said if the bill does pass the house, Planned Parenthood would likely consider a lawsuit as they did in the case of Alabama.
“It is the responsibility of our attorney general to defend all Mississippians,” Criswell says. “The people of this state are appalled at the thought that their tax dollars are being used to support an organization that kills unborn children. Mississippi is always ready and willing to fight evil.”