Supreme Court Prevents Indiana From De-Funding Planned Parenthood

State   Steven Ertelt   May 28, 2013   |   10:34AM    Washington, DC

The Supreme Court today declined to take a case from Indiana, which will result in preventing the state from being able to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

Previously, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a lower court judge’s ruling that the state of Indiana can’t de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business via the state Medicaid program it runs.

The 2012 ruling from a three-judge panel indicated Indiana can’t enforce a state law signed by then-Governor Mitch Daniels disqualifying Planned Parenthood from participating in family planing program because it does abortions.

Today, an Associated Press report indicates the Supreme Court declined to take the case of Indiana’s appeal of that appellate court ruling. That leaves the lower court ruling against de-funding as the final decision.

The Supreme Court will not disturb a lower court ruling that blocks Indiana’s effort to strip Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood because the organization performs abortions among its medical services.

The justices did not comment Tuesday in rejecting the state’s appeal of a federal appeals court ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state law targeting Planned Parenthood went too far. Indiana is among more than a dozen states that have enacted or considered laws to cut off taxpayer money to organizations that provide abortion.

The law aimed to deny Planned Parenthood funds from the joint federal-state Medicaid health program for the poor that are used for general health services including cancer screening.

Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter blasted the Supreme Court’s refusal to take the case in a comment on Twitter:

CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!

 

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood abortion business, welcomed the court’s decision.

“All women, no matter where they live, should be able to get quality, affordable healthcare from the healthcare provider they know and trust,” she said.

Indiana became the fist state of several to kick the abortion business out of its program in May 2011. A provision of the law would prevent Medicaid patients from obtaining services at Planned Parenthood and other facilities that provide abortions, with the exception of hospitals and ambulatory care centers. The law prohibits state agencies from providing state or federal funds to “any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.”

“The appeals court upheld the part of Pratt’s order that said Indiana didn’t have authority to exclude a medical provider that qualifies for Medicaid. It said the law violated patients’ right to obtain medical care from the provider of their choice,” according to an AP report.

The court wrote, “Although Indiana has broad authority to exclude unqualified providers from its Medicaid program, the State does not have plenary authority to exclude a class of providers for any reason—more particularly, for a reason unrelated to provider qualifications.”

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. Afterwards, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick said the federal Medicaid law stipulates that states can’t exclude providers based on the services they provide.

The Obama administration twice rejected Indiana’s effort to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business, which upset Mike Fichter, the president of Indiana Right to Life: “We are deeply troubled by the Obama administration’s continued rejection of Indiana’s right to end Medicaid funding for Indiana’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, even after expert testimony concluded that ‘there is a significant probability that Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood cross-subsidize its abortion services.’”

“Once again, the administration is revealing its absolute disdain for states rights while propping up the business of abortion at the expense of Hoosier taxpayers. Fortunately, this is not the final ruling. We remain confident that Indiana will prevail and that Hoosiers will have the confidence of knowing their tax dollars are not paying for abortions,” he said.

Previously, 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.

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 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.