On Tuesday the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the state of Indiana over the blocking of a law that would ban Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding. The Court dismissed the case without comment, allowing the lower court ruling to stand. Last July, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Indiana law violates federal law which requires that Medicaid enrollees have the freedom to choose their health care provider, and permanently blocked its enforcement.
The law, which was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and signed into law by Governor Mitch Daniels (R) in 2011, would have prohibited the state from contracting Planned Parenthood of Indiana for health care services other than abortions despite Planned Parenthood using private funds to pay for abortion services. It would also have prohibited Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding for preventive healthcare services, such as cancer screenings, well-woman visits, and STI tests. The law would also have prevented Medicaid recipients who went to Planned Parenthood from being reimbursed through their insurance for services rendered. Supporters of the ban argued that allowing Medicaid funding for preventative services indirectly provided more organizational money to fund abortions.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told reporters, “[Yesterday’s] announcement from the Supreme Court is not only a victory for Planned Parenthood’s patients in Indiana, it is a victory for the nearly 3 million people who turn to Planned Parenthood health centers each year across the country.”
In the 2013 legislative season, seven new states have tried to defund Planned Parenthood. Similar measures in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kansas, and Arizona have also been blocked by judges. However, efforts to restrict funding in Oklahoma and Texas were more successful.