Missouri Dems turn to Illinois, Kansas for abortion help

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A top Democratic lawmaker in the Republican-led state of Missouri wrote to the Democratic governors of Illinois and Kansas on Wednesday asking for help paying for abortions for Medicaid patients out of the state.

Crystal Quade, Missouri House Democratic Minority Leader, called on Illinois and Kansas to seek Medicaid waivers to cover abortions for out-of-state patients.

Her request came after Democratic President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order aimed in part at making it easier for women seeking abortions to travel between states to access the procedure.

The guidelines will allow states that have not banned abortion to apply for Medicaid waivers that would help them treat women who have traveled from out of state.

Waivers only apply in cases of rape, incest and medical emergencies.

“While these exceptions are limited, we believe this executive order is still meaningful for patients in Missouri who are experiencing a life-threatening health care situation or whose pregnancy was forced through the violence of rape or incest. “, wrote Quade in a letter to the governor of Kansas. Laura Kelly and Kansas Legislative Leaders.

Spokespersons for Kelly and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press on the federal waiver and Quade’s request.

Kansas has yet to expand its Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act due to strong opposition from Republican leaders to former Democratic President Barack Obama’s domestic policies. Because Kansas does not allow citizens to ask questions on the ballot, the ruling stood, even though many lawmakers and advocates say it is widely unpopular.

Crossing state lines to get an abortion has become a growing problem since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and opened the door to new abortion restrictions at the state level.

The National Abortion Federation said on Wednesday it had seen more women seek assistance to travel to get the procedure in the month following the ruling. The organization paid for 76 hotel rooms and booked 52 bus or plane trips, compared to just a handful at the same time last year.

Missouri banned abortion minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. The only exception is to save the life of the mother.

Abortion is legal in neighboring Illinois as well as in Kansas, where voters on Tuesday chose to uphold the right to abortion enshrined in the state Constitution. Kansas voters rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the Republican-controlled legislature to tighten restrictions on abortion or outright ban the procedure.

Missouri Democrats have sought to take advantage of abortion-just access across state lines.

St. Louis Democratic Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a measure last month for $1 million to travel to abortion clinics in other states, prompting Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, to take legal action.

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