On October 23, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that the state of Indiana cannot defund the Planned Parenthood program in its state through Medicaid.
Indiana voted to disqualify Planned Parenthood from its family planning program because the organization performs abortions. Governor Mitch Daniels signed the disqualification into state law in May 2011. However, the court ruling states that the state cannot enforce the law signed by the governor.
A LifeNews article about the ruling includes information about the law and the ruling which claimed that it cannot be enforced:
… 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.”
The article also mentions that legal groups have weighed in on in the case and have claimed that the law is constitutional. It also describes the ways in which the law seeks to serve the people of the state of Indiana:
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.
The LifeNews article also mentions involvement from the Obama administration in this case. This is nothing new. The administration has intervened before in other states where Planned Parenthood has been defunded, always on behalf of the abortion provider.
With regards to Indiana in particular, the Obama administration has rejected the state’s efforts to revoke taxpayer dollars towards the abortion organization and even filed legal papers in support of the lawsuit from Planned Parenthood against the Indiana State Department of Health.
The case may then also be considered as a states rights issue, particularly with how much involvement has come from the Obama administration. Elected state representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood in Indiana, since organizations which perform abortions are not to be allowed to receive funding for a family planning program. An elected governor then signed this bill into law. And the people of Indiana seem to understand something that President Obama and Planned Parenthood cannot: that abortion is not a part of legitimate family planning. The people of Indiana also do not want their taxpayer dollars paying for abortion, even indirectly.
Planned Parenthood may have Obama, a president who usurps states rights and in doing so completely disregards the beliefs of pro-lifers in those states. However, this ruling is not the final ruling, and it may be appealed. There is still hope that the beliefs of pro-lifers of Indiana will be reflected in the law.