Yesterday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) signed a bill that would make Indiana the first state to defund Planned Parenthood. In April, the state Senate and House voted to cut about $2 million in federal money that goes to Planned Parenthood, much of which is for Medicaid services. The bill also calls for a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, which would dramatically restrict women’s access to abortion services.
Following the bill signing, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a request for an injunction in the US District Court to block the bill from being enforced. Betty Cockrum, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana stated, “PPIN will continue to fight on behalf of the thousands of patients at our 28 health centers around the state who count on PPIN for health care. We have an obligation to stand with our low-income patients who rely on government funding to receive Pap tests, birth control, STD testing and treatment. We want to ensure that they receive care from their preferred provider – Planned Parenthood of Indiana.”
Lawmakers in Kansas and North Carolina are attempting to pass similar legislation that would take away all funding for Planned Parenthood, and are expected to vote on their proposed budgets in the coming weeks. In February, the U.S. House Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), voted for a Continuing Resolution that would prohibit any federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, even in reimbursement for services rendered. In spite of Republican claims that the purpose of the Pence amendment was to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions, such spending is already prohibited by federal law.