Pro-Lifers Blast Obama for Defending Planned Parenthood Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 2, 2011   |   11:21AM   |   Washington, DC

Leading national pro-life organizations are blasting the Obama administration for its decision on Wednesday to disallow the state of Indiana to move forward with its request to cut off between $2-3 million in taxpayer funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business gets via Medicaid.

Governor Mitch Daniels signed the law to cut off the funding saying “any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions.”

However, the Obama administration has told the state it can’t implement the new law, with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick denying a request to deny funds saying the federal Medicaid law stipulates that states can’t exclude providers based on the services they provide. Berwick also said the law makes it so states can’t prohibit access to family planning, which is provided under federal law. His department released a memo advising states that they can’t exclude abortion providers from receiving taxpayer funds via Medicaid.

The action is drawing heavy criticism from Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, who criticized Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, for claiming that the state of Indiana’s recently passed Medicaid plan, which prevents taxpayers from having to fund Planned Parenthood, is illegal and must be changed.

She told LifeNews the Obama administration “ignores a review commissioned by Gov. Mitch Daniels showing that, under the bill signed into law, women in all 92 Indiana counties would have access to all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women’s health, even if Planned Parenthood were to lose its federal funding. Gov. Daniels also made it clear that Planned Parenthood could continue to receive Medicaid funding if it ceased to provide abortions or separated its operations that perform abortions.”

“Secretary Sebelius is strong-arming states like Indiana to protect the Administration’s powerful ally Planned Parenthood,” she said. “Since the fight to defund the abortion provider has moved from the national to the state level, the organization has been exposed as a billion dollar business centered on abortion and an unapologetic partner of those who wish to exploit young girls. Their pro-woman image has been shattered, and the Administration is struggling to protect their bruised ally.

“Women can and do have access to health services across the state of Indiana, and other states considering defunding Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars should work boldly to do so,” Dannenfelser added.

Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council chimed in as well.

“The irony should not be lost that the letter came from Donald Berwick, who was recessed appointed by President Obama after failing to even get a hearing, let a lone a vote, in the Democratically-controlled Senate largely in part due to his radical views on government health care rationing being a good thing,” he said. “This appeared to be too much for even some Democrats in the Senate.”

“On Friday May 27 a Congressional letter was sent from both Indiana Senators and six House Members of the Indiana delegation to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, to urge her to approve Indiana’s Medicaid State plan.  The letter highlights key arguments for why the Indiana state plan is consistent with federal law. However, Don Berwick’s decision demonstrates that the Obama administration has disregarded their request,” he added.

“Berwick sent a separate, informal CMS warning that any similar actions, such as happening in other states, would violate longstanding Medicaid statues.  While his assertions are questionable, the lengths this Administration will go to defend abortion giant Planned Parenthood are not,” McClusky said.

“Pro-abortion groups have given tens of millions to abortion advocates running for office (pro-abortion PAC EMILY’s List has the fifth biggest “super-PAC” in the country) as well as shares a lot of big donors with the President, who has been ardently pro-abortion, and at times anti-life (voting to defend partial birth abortion in the Illinois state senate), since early in his political career.   Earlier this year the President was even willing to shut down the whole government over the issue of taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood,” the FRC pro-life advocate said. “Clearly the multi-million dollar investment Ms. Richards and her allies put into the Obama Campaign is paying off in hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds.”

On the other side, the abortion business is hailing the decision.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said “The HHS letter is a strong rebuke to Indiana and serves as a warning to other states that attempts to bar funding for Planned Parenthood violate Medicaid law.”