|Gov. Matt Blunt in Springfield today called for $500,000 in state funds for the Show Me Healthy Women Program. The funds will expand the program to 1,225 more Missouri women, but at the expense of Planned Parenthood clinics. Eligibility guideliness for breast and cervical cancer screenings include Missouri residency and age (3-49 and 50-64) and income restrictions.
The governor also announced today that Joplin's Ozark Tri-County Health Care will be joining the program to provide the screenings and that Springfield's Jordan Valley Community Health Center will be expanding their program.
In examining ways to increase funding for life-saving screenings, the Blunt Administration found that previous administrations had programmed taxpayer money to go to Planned Parenthood in Springfield and Joplin through the program. Blunt said he immediately took steps to stop the funding while expanding access to screenings for women in the Springfield and Joplin areas.
“Patients should not have to go to an abortion clinic to access life saving tests,” Blunt said. “Today I put an end to taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood in Springfield and Joplin through the Show Me Healthy Women Program. This ensures women may access important preventative care without contributing to abortion providers’ goal of facilitating the destruction of innocent life.”
The governor emphasized how significant an impact breast and cervical cancer have on Missouri families and noted his family has also faced the terrible disease. Mrs. Blunt, who accompanied the governor today, lost her mother to breast cancer as a teenager.
According to statistics provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Show Me Healthy Women program continued to operate despite a five percent reduction in funding of $150,000 and a 32 percent reduction in program staff during the past three years. Out of 7,990 women screened in grant year 14 which ended June 29, 2006, 159 breast cancers were diagnosed or an 18 percent increase over the previous grant year and 20 cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed or a 30 percent increase over the same period. According to a health care website provided by the University of Missouri, more than 28,000 women may qualify for a free mammogram and pap test.
For those interested in the program call (800) 422-6237 and a cancer information specialist will connect you with a Show Me Healthy Women provider nearest to your residence to make an appointment. Locally, enrollment and screenings had been completed at Planned Parenthood, My Clinic and the Jasper County Health Department. St. John’s Health System and Freeman Hospital performed the diagnostic services.