Planned Parenthood Will File Lawsuit When Indiana Cuts Funds

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2011   |   11:51AM   |   Indianapolis, IN

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has promised to sign a bill that would yank taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood, but officials with the affiliate of the abortion business are threatening a lawsuit.

Last week, Daniels promised to sign legislation that would install several pro-life provisions, such as banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but it would also yank state funding for the pro-abortion organization. But Margaret Lawrence Banning, vice president of Planned Parenthood’s public policy, called the potential move “an assault on all women.”

She confirmed the Planned Parenthood abortion business will go to court to block what it called “the alarming erosion of public health policy in our state.”

“Yes we will continue to fight it we’re planning to file an injunction in court as soon as the governor signs it,” Banning said, according to channel 6 in Indianapolis.

Should the state be dragged to court over the bill, attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund say Indiana would be on solid legal footing. The pro-life legal group has informed LifeNews it provided a legal opinion to Governor Daniels Thursday which dispels rumors that a legislature-approved bill defunding abortionists will endanger the state’s Medicaid funds.

The bill, known as the Schneider Amendment (H.B. 1210), would have the effect of defunding Planned Parenthood and other similar organizations that perform abortions; however, the ADF opinion explains that the bill does not conflict with federal mandates and does not target any particular organization for exclusion from the Medicaid program. Federal appeals courts have upheld similar bills in Texas and Missouri.

“The precious tax dollars of the people of Indiana should not be funneled to abortionists, especially during tough economic times,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “The Indiana Legislature has worded a bill that allows them to be good stewards of the people’s money in this regard without fear of jeopardizing other funding that is clearly not at issue in this bill. In fact, if the governor signs the bill and it is ever attacked in court, ADF would offer to assist in mounting a legal defense of the law free of charge.”

The Schneider Amendment states that no state agency may enter into a contract with or make a grant to “any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed that involves the expenditure of state funds or federal funds administered by the state.”

The ADF letter explains that if the bill becomes law, “the State of Indiana would merely be applying its own congruent conditions for eligibility for qualified provider status under Medicaid, and not imposing conditions inconsistent with federal guidelines.”

In a statement last week, Daniels said Planned Parenthood can continue receiving taxpayer funds if it stops doing abortions.

“Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions,” he said.

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 and they include one revoking taxpayer funding through the state government for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

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.

Immediately after Daniels released his statement this afternoon saying he would sign the legislation, abortion advocates went on the attack.

But pro-life advocates were supportive of 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.”

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, which has the strong support of pro-life groups like Indiana Right to Life and the Indiana Family Institute.

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.