Pro-Life Law Firm Backs Indiana Planned Parenthood De-Funding Law

State   Steven Ertelt   May 27, 2011   |   6:50PM    Washington, DC

A pro-life law firm has filed a legal brief to support an Indiana law that de-funds Planned Parenthood and contains pro-life provisions limiting abortions and abortion funding.

Governor Mitch Daniels signed the law, which would cut off anywhere from $2 million to $3 million the Planned Parenthood abortion business receives in federal funds via the Indiana government through Medicaid.

The law also contains several pro-life provisions that directly affect abortion, such as banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on fetal pain and provisions 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.

Today, the Thomas More Society filed a “friend of the Court” brief for Indiana legislators in defense of Indiana’s newly enacted law.

The TMS brief supports the state’s defense against Planned Parenthood’s current effort to persuade Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, who presides in the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis, to block enforcement of Indiana’s new law and strike it down as unconstitutional.  A hearing is now scheduled for June 6 on Planned Parenthood’s request for entry of a preliminary injunction against the new law, which not only denies state funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers but also mandates that abortion providers inform women that “human physical life” begins with fertilization.

Filed on behalf of more than 60 members from both houses of the Indiana General Assembly, the TMS brief argues defends the constitutionality of Indiana’s new law and urges that it continue to be enforced.  Authored by Thomas More Society’s special counsel Paul Linton, the brief argues:

First, Planned Parenthood has not proven that the funding restriction would interfere with, let alone impose any “undue burden” on, the ability of any pregnant woman to obtain an abortion in Indiana, and abortion providers themselves have no constitutional right to perform abortions separate and independent from the right of their women patients to obtain one.

Second, the new law does not coerce physicians or other health professionals to embrace or proclaim an ideological viewpoint with which they disagree, but only requires such professionals in a legitimate exercise of the state’s regulatory authority to provide patients with medically and scientifically accurate “truthful, non-misleading information.”

Third, medical and scientific authority proves that Indiana’s mandated physician advice to prospective abortion patients that “human physical life … begins with fertilization” is objectively true and accurate.

“Planned Parenthood’s federal lawsuit is meritless,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of Chicago’s Thomas More Society.  “And despite pressure from U.S. Senators that support Planned Parenthood, we trust that this Indiana lawsuit will fail and that other states will follow Indiana’s lead.”