Indiana ruling signals tough legal fight for Planned Parenthood
A federal judge refused to order an injunction on Wednesday against a first-in-the-nation law signed by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels that cuts funding to Planned Parenthood.
(Page 2 of 2)
What the law does
The Indiana law makes it illegal for the organization to take federal Medicaid money, which is disbursed by the states. As part of a growing legislative trend, the law also sets stricter conditions on abortion: banning it past 20 weeks of pregnancy and ordering doctors to inform patients that having an abortion could affect their fertility.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The new law, supporters say, is intended to allow women on Medicaid to redirect their payments to other providers. “The goal would be to take money removed from the Planned Parenthood organization and redistribute that money into other clinics,” Donna Golob, director of A Positive Approach to Teen Health, a northwest Indiana nonprofit, told the Post-Tribune newspaper in Gary, Ind. "They’re not taking away services. They’re changing who is providing them and overall providing women more of a total health package rather than a crisis health package.”
Abortion-rights advocates suggest that the situation is not that cut and dried. The Planned Parenthood clinics are clearly fulfilling a need, or else they wouldn't exist, they say, and the loss of the clinics would have repercussions.
The Guttmacher Institute, which works to promote sexual and reproductive health in the US, said recently that ending federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana could raise the teen pregnancy rate by 21 percent and the number of abortions by 34 percent, because women wouldn't have the same access to pregnancy-prevention services.
An anti-Planned Parenthood campaign
The controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood picked up steam in January after antiabortion filmmaker Lila Rose released a set of "sting" videos showing an office manager helping a faux "pimp" get services for underage prostitutes. The film was part of "Expose Planned Parenthood" – a campaign by several antiabortion groups to stop federal funding of the organization.
Planned Parenthood says it doesn't use federal subsidies to fund abortions, which would be in violation of federal law. But opponents claim that offering abortion services as part of a comprehensive reproductive-health package means de facto taxpayer support of abortion.
Going forward, there are other legal complications with the Indiana law. Federal law prohibits states from picking and choosing which groups receive Medicaid dollars. Moreover, the American Civil Liberties Union claims in a legal filing that the law violates women's rights by curbing their right to choose their provider under Medicaid.
“It is unlawful, unnecessary, and cruel to deny these populations health services that they desperately need," said the ACLU's Indiana legal director, Ken Falk.
Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration has raised concerns that the law could jeopardize $4 million in Medicaid funding for family planning.