An Indiana law that denies Medicare funds to Planned Parenthood has once again been blocked. The law, signed into effect by Republican Governor Mitch Daniels in May 2011, claims that Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) should not receive Medicare funding because the funds would indirectly subsidize abortion. The law was blocked in June of 2011 and again yesterday on the grounds that the law does not provide women with the freedom to choose their health care provider. The State is continuing to challenge the ruling both in federal court and administratively within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the Department of Health and Human Services.
In a statement released today, PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum said, “We are gratified by the federal government’s decision and thrilled that PPIN continues to be able to provide preventative health care to our patients. Through its appeal, the State was continuing its attack on women’s rights and attempting to restrict access to basic, lifesaving services such as Pap tests, breast exams, STD testing and treatment, and birth control. What is even more appalling is that these actions by the State would have penalized Hoosiers who are struggling to make ends meet right now – Hoosiers who are in need of the high-quality, affordable health care that PPIN provides.”
Six other states- North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, and Oklahoma- have bills pending that seek to defund or decrease the funds available to Planned Parenthood. This year, Arizona defunded Planned Parenthood and Maine has cut $400,000 in family planning funds. In 2011, five other states passed legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. Of those states, District Courts in Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee have declared the laws unconstitutional and blocked them from going into effect. Wisconsin’s legislation was not blocked.
Planned Parenthood health centers across the country provide contraception and basic health care, including family planning, cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections to approximately 2.5 million women per year, including over one million cervical cancer screenings and 830,000 breast exams.
Media Resources: Associated Press 7/8/2012; CNN 7/9/2012; ThinkProgress 7/9/2012; PPIN 7/9/2012; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/2/2011; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/28/2011; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/5/2012; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/19/2012