Planned Parenthood Indiana Cutting Staff After De-Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 20, 2011   |   9:51AM   |   Indianapolis, IN

The Planned Parenthood of Indiana abortion business has laid off two  staff members now that the uptick in donations it received from pro-abortion supporters has run out following the news that the state had revoked its taxpayer funding.

A rash of donations had been sufficient to replace the state and federal taxpayer funding the state had directed to the abortion business via Medicaid, but it was only enough to cover a few weeks. Now, Betty Cockrum, the president of the abortion business, has cut two staff members and is closing each of its centers one day a week in order to meet the budget shortfall it will experience if a federal court doesn’t issue an injunction against the law and restore the taxpayer revenue stream.

Cockrum told WFPL she hopes a ruling could be handed down as early as next week that would side with Planned Parenthood and force the state to turn on the funding spigot while the lawsuit it filed against the de-funding law continues.

“There is certainly sufficient argument for a decision but I think it’s also such a critically important and long-term and far-reaching decision, there’s every chance it will be after Monday,” she said over the weekend.

Cockrum says the cuts are not extensive extensive because the judge could issue a ruling sometime this week and, almost certainly, by the end of the month.

“We also have to be mindful not to do anything that’s too drastic because it’s a very short window. Assuming, again, that there is a ruling no later than June 30th,” she told WFPL.

The president of the Hosier State abortion business told the station she rejects what other Planned Parenthood affiliates have done to keep taxpayer funding in place — restructuring into two groups, one that does abortions and one that doesn’t. But Cockrum said other states are still facing potential de-funding despite the split into two organizations.

“There’s a very legitimate concern about the shelf life of any kind of restructuring. Just looking at language that was introduced in the Minnesota legislature this year that would have stripped funds from any organization that even made a referral for an abortion,” she said.

Last week, the Obama administration filed legal papers supporting the lawsuit brought forward by the Planned Parenthood abortion business seeking to challenge the Indiana law revoking its taxpayer 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. A federal judge held a hearing on the law, (H.B. 1210), which would have the effect of defunding Planned Parenthood and other similar organizations that perform abortions. It 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.”

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt listened to oral arguments in the first hearing following her decision to deny Planned Parenthood’s initial request for an injunction against the law, which also puts several key abortion limits in place. Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher and Ken Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Planned Parenthood of Indiana, appeared before Judge Pratt.

The brief followed the Obama administration telling Indiana officials that it can’t implement the new law, with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick saying the federal Medicaid law stipulates that states can’t exclude providers based on the services they provide. But Marcus Barlow, a spokesman for Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration, told National Journal Indiana would enforce the law, “The way the law was written, it went into effect the moment the governor signed it. We were just advised by our lawyers that we should continue to enforce Indiana law.”

Berwick rejected the changes to the Medicaid funding Indiana requested and the state has 60 days from June 1 to appeal the decision. Fisher, arguing for the state, told Judge Pratt during the hearing that because the appeal on the Berwick decision is forthcoming that an injunction should not be granted.

Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter condemned the Obama administration for siding with the abortion business.

“Last night’s after-hours brief by the U.S. Justice Department urging a federal judge to block Indiana’s right to defund Planned Parenthood is just one more stunning example of why we must all stand together in this fight to defend Indiana’s sovereignty against a federal administration that is bent on defending the business of killing unborn children,” he told LifeNews. “Abortion supporters are pouring money in to Indiana hand-over-fist because they know all eyes of the nation are now on the Hoosier state.”

“The abortion industry is worried that what is happening in Indiana will happen in states across the nation, and they are working hard to silence our voice and to keep your tax dollars subsidizing the business of abortion,” he said.

In its legal papers, Indiana argues that there is “no record that Planned Parenthood of Indiana makes any effort to either segregate Medicaid reimbursements from other unrestricted revenue sources or to allocate the cost of its various lines of business, whether abortion, family planning, cancer screenings, or other services.”

“This indicates that, while PPIN may not receive Medicaid reimbursements directly related to abortions, the Medicaid reimbursements it does receive are pooled or comingled with other monies it receives and thus help to pay for total operational costs,” the state said, making it so abortions or costs related to abortions are indirectly funded. (View the full document here: Memo in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction)

In addition, the state argues that the new law serves the public interest in three ways:  the funding qualification provision prevents taxpayer dollars from indirectly funding abortions; it advances the State’s goals of encouraging women to choose childbirth over abortion, and the informed consent requirements ensure that women who choose abortion have all the information necessary to make an informed and voluntary decision.

Three pro-life legal groups have weighed in on the case — including the American Center for Law and Justice, Alliance Defense Fund and Thomas More Society — and they have said the law is constitutional.Planned Parenthood of 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.