Thirty Senate Democrats issued a letter late last week to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting that HHS officials advise Medicaid directors not to implement measures to prevent Medicaid or Title X funding from going to clinics that offer abortion services. The letter stated, “The restrictions threatened by state legislatures blatantly contradict the spirit and letter of well-established and long-accepted law. We write not to ask support for new law, but for vigorous, prompt enforcement of existing law.”
The letter comes in response to an Indiana law, signed by Governor Mitch Daniels (R) on May 10, that prohibits state agencies from contracting with clinics offering abortions and would therefore require the state to alter its Medicaid plan. 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.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have jointly filed a lawsuit against the law.