Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana has signed a bill to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business. The bill makes the Hoosier state the first to go as far as it has in shutting down funding.
Daniels signed the bill Thursday along with 79 other bills and the abortion business has already responded by saying it has filed a temporary restraining order seeking to prevent the law from being enforced, though one pro-life group has already said the lawsuit will likely fail in court.
“Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has enacted a bill that cuts off federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Patients who rely on this support are now forbidden from using those funds to receive lifesaving care at Planned Parenthood health centers,” the group claims. “What anti-choice politicians couldn’t accomplish in Congress, they are now pushing state by state. Indiana will be the first to suffer the consequences of this unjustifiable assault on Planned Parenthood — and your state may be next.”
The new law also bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is one of the strongest pro-life bills in the history of the state. The provisions contained in the bill will amount to the most substantial block of pro-life legislation passed in Indiana since the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973.
House Bill 1210 contains provisions to end all state-directed funding for businesses that do abortions, to protect pain-capable unborn children beginning at 20 weeks, to opt-out of abortion coverage in any state health exchanges required under the new federal health law, to require that women considering abortion be given full, factual information in writing, and to require doctors who do abortions, or their designees, to maintain local hospital admitting privileges in order to streamline access to emergency care for women injured by abortion.
At the end of April, Daniels issued a statement about why he planned to sign the bill into law.
“I will sign HEA 1210 when it reaches my desk a week or so from now. I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position,” Daniels said. “The principle involved commands the support of an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers, as reflected in greater than 2:1 bipartisan votes in both legislative chambers.”
Daniels added that he “commissioned a careful review of access to services across the state and can confirm that all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women’s health, will remain readily available in every one of our 92 counties. In addition, I have ordered the Family and Social Services Administration to see that Medicaid recipients receive prompt notice of nearby care options. We will take any actions necessary to ensure that vital medical care is, if anything, more widely available than before.”
“Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions,” he said.
Signing the bill allows Daniels a chance to repair the relationship he strained with pro-life voters last year with his proposed truce on social issues, including abortion, that could adversely affect him in any bid for the Republican nomination for president.
Leading pro-life groups strongly supported the legislation.
“This legislation places Indiana on the vanguard of efforts to protect the unborn, to deny public funds to businesses that profit from abortion, and to ensure that women considering abortion have full and factual information about such issues as fetal development and alternatives to abortion,” stated Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter after the House approved the bill. “We applaud Republican leadership in the House and Senate for its decisive action and will urge Governor Daniels to waste no time in signing these important provisions into law.”
To get the Planned Parenthood funding ban in place, state senators voted to add a measure that was not brought up earlier in the year to a larger pro-life bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy because unborn children are capable of feeling massive pain at that point in pregnancy. The state Senate voted 36 to 13 to add the de-funding provision to HB 1210.
Daniels has a pro-life record as governor but he has upset pro-life voters repeatedly with his comment supporting a truce on social issues like abortion. As recently as mid-March, Daniels said he remains committed to the social issues truce — which advocates putting abortion on the back burner while the next president tackles the challenges of turning around the beleaguered economy.
Daniels has repeatedly said he is waiting to make a decision on a 2012 presidential bid until this year’s legislative session wraps up. That points to a potential early May decision.
A Planned Parenthood in Indiana in 2008 suspended an employee after a video showed the staffer covering up a girl’s statutory rape. The video was a part of an earlier series of undercover investigations Live Action performed with a UCLA student, Lila Rose, posing as a 13-year old girl who had sexual relations with a 31-year-old man.
On tape, the Planned Parenthood nurse acknowledges her responsibility to report the abuse, but assures the student, Lila Rose, she will not.
“Okay, I didn’t hear the age [of the 31-year-old]. I don’t want to know the age,” she tells Rose.
ACTION: Contact Governor Daniels at http://www.in.gov/gov/2631.htm