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New rules on Missouri abortion clinics set to take effect

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The administration of Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has enacted more rules on Missouri abortion clinics.

The new emergency regulations, which take effect Oct. 13, require abortion providers to cooperate with state health department investigators and ensure physicians perform pelvic exams, if medically necessary, 72 hours before abortions.

The regulations also require the health department to refer rule violations to the state’s Medicaid Audit and Compliance Unit, which reviews whether medical providers meet requirements to receive Medicaid funding.

Other rules require abortion providers to make sure all employees participate in annual fire drills and properly date records.

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood in Missouri said that the new regulations might violate federal Medicaid rules by singling out the organization.

The new rules come after Missouri Republicans have tried for years to block all Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, which is already prohibited from using Medicaid funds for abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger or in the cases of rape and incest.

State senators recommended last week that Missouri cancel abortion providers’ Medicaid contracts based on behavior in other states deemed illegal or unethical.

Lawmakers also recommended that the health department and Medicaid auditors share inspection information, similar to the new agency rules.

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