JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Negotiations on abortion language tied to FRA reauthorization largely fell apart throughout the day, but one coalition of senators was successful in brokering a deal: a bipartisan group of women.
Nearly every female senator on both sides of the aisle met Friday to discuss a provision in the FRA reauthorization package that would exclude certain medications from Medicaid coverage “when used to induce an abortion.” Concerns were levied that women who use Medicaid could be prevented from accessing birth control or emergency contraceptives because of the way the drugs and devices were listed out in the bill.
The senators brought their concerns to Sen. Paul Wieland — who has championed the issue of excluding abortifacients from Medicaid coverage throughout the FRA reauthorization fight — and he agreed with them. The original language he put forth, in fact, just addressed drugs or devices that induce abortions, but it changed to a listed format after talks with the Governor’s Office and House, a spokesperson for the senator said.
The Senate bill originally up for debate Friday specifically said Plan B, IUDs, and other drugs and devices would be excluded from Medicaid coverage “when used to induce an abortion.”
The substitute senators passed early Saturday morning just said “family planning services shall not include abortions or any abortifacient drug or device that is used for the purpose of inducing an abortion” except in instances when the woman’s life is at stake.
“There is probably nothing that couldn’t be solved if it was just us women,” said one senator who attended the meeting.
Thankful this language was adopted. MO Medicaid program (taxpayer $$) will not be used for Chemical Abortions.
I appreciate my colleagues support & passing SB1, especially the women of the Missouri Senate & the Governor’s office for helping to get the deal done.#MoLeg #JeffcoMo pic.twitter.com/dBl6C9au6Z
— Paul Wieland (@WielandNow) June 26, 2021
Bipartisan women in the tangle of late night discussions saved the FRA! That’s the real story …shhhhhhhhh
— Sen. Karla May (@KarlaMayMO4) June 27, 2021
The MO Senate has passed a 3yr FRA. This version has NO LANGUAGE banning birth control & NO LANGUAGE defunding providers. Good work by all involved, especially the Senate Women who removed the list of birth control from the final bill.
— J O H N ⚡️ R I Z Z O (@JohnJRizzo) June 26, 2021
At 12:30 AM, the MO Senate passed a renewal of the FRA to fund Medicaid. After days of intense debate and negotiations, we got a bill that neither restricted birth control nor defunded healthcare providers. Proud of our bipartisan group of women senators working together.
— Lauren Arthur (@LaurenArthurMO) June 26, 2021
I’m grateful to the Women in the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, for working together to protect access to birth control. We have sent a #CleanFRA to the House where I hope my colleagues can continue the levelheaded, bipartisan cooperation that ensures good governance for #MO
— Jill Schupp (@JillSchupp) June 26, 2021
Kaitlyn Schallhorn was the editor in chief of The Missouri Times from 2020-2022. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.