Court of Appeals will address Indiana’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood

by on October 24, 2011  •  In Reproductive rights, States

In oral arguments before the Seventh Circuit last Thursday, the Solicitor General of Indiana suggested that Planned Parenthood split itself into two entities to avoid the impact of a law cutting off Medicaid funds to the group because it provides abortions. Planned Parenthood accused the state of violating the federal Medicaid statute by singling it out based on the nature of services it offers with private funding. The Indiana law was enjoined last June, and the state appealed.

From Bloomberg:

Solicitor General Thomas Fisher said during oral arguments before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that Indiana's new law is aimed at keeping taxpayer dollars "from indirectly subsidizing abortions." He told the appeals court that Planned Parenthood of Indiana could ensure that wouldn't happen by separating its operations into two entities. "Only by separating the two can we be sure that there's no cross-subsidy," Fisher said.

Planned Parenthood's attorney, Ken Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the appeals court during the 45-minute hearing that Indiana's own Medicaid agency warned state lawmakers while they were weighing the legislation that it would violate Medicaid recipients' "freedom of choice" by targeting the abortion provider.

"The state Medicaid agency said, and I'm quoting, `Federal law permits states to define a qualified provider but requires that this definition is related to a provider's ability to perform a service — and not what services are provided,'" Falk said…

The law, which was signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, made Indiana the first state to deny the organization Medicaid funds for general health services, including cancer screenings.

Planned Parenthood said the law would affect about 9,300 women who rely on Planned Parenthood for their health care. State officials have said that scores of health centers across the state would readily accept Medicaid patients and offer reproductive and sexual health services…


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