Missouri Lawmakers Approve Defunding Abortion Providers as Planned Parenthood’s ‘Handmaids’ Protest

Activists dressed as characters from "The Handmaid's Tale" chant in the Texas Capitol Rotunda as they protest SB8, a bill that would require health care facilities, including hospitals and abortion clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, to bury or cremate any fetal remains whether from abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth, and they …
AP Photo/Eric Gay

The “handmaids” of Planned Parenthood strode through the Missouri Statehouse this week as the state’s lawmakers passed a budget prohibiting the direction of funds to facilities associated with abortion providers.

Dressed as women from Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian feminist novel about a totalitarian theocracy that forces women to procreate, the protesters are now a familiar sight in government buildings when Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding is in jeopardy:

The “handmaids” in Missouri were protesting two bills that would prevent the state’s Medicaid funding to be used for reimbursement at Planned Parenthood or other facilities that perform abortions.

The bills were part of the state’s $28 billion budget that passed the legislature and now await Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ signature.

M’Evie Mead, director of policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, told the Kansas City Star the handmaids are a sign of what happens when “politicians and governments try and substitute their judgment for those individuals’ judgment.”

“And that’s what ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is all about — what happens when a government takes control over a certain segment of women’s lives and tries to run them for their own purposes,” Mead said.

GOP State Rep. Robert Ross wrote the language in the amendments to two of the bills that refer to blocking Medicaid funds to facilities associated with abortion providers. During a floor debate in March, Ross said abortion providers had set up a “shell game” to provide abortions while still benefiting from Medicaid reimbursements for other women’s health services.

“This Republican lead administration is really creating an unbelievably hostile environment for access to reproductive health care in Missouri,” said Mead, according to Rewire.

In a statement to LifeNews, Samuel Lee of Campaign Life Missouri praised state lawmakers for passing a budget that prioritizes support for mothers and babies.

“The Missouri General Assembly has passed the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1, and it is great news for pro-life agencies, pregnant mothers and their unborn children – and for pro-life taxpayers – by defunding abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” Lee said.

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