“The novel argument that abortion providers have a constitutional right to perform abortions and receive public funds finds no support in the law.” – the American Center for Law & Justice
Background: The state of Indiana recently passed a bill barring state Medicaid funding from going to abortion providers. As the largest abortion chain in Indiana, Planned Parenthood would no longer receive reimbursements from the government for seeing Medicaid patients. Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit against Indiana in an attempt to force Indiana to restore their government funding. They are claiming that the Indiana law violates a federal statute. The Obama administration is supporting funding Planned Parenthood and is threatening to remove $4.2 billion in federal Medicaid funding from Indiana if they do not start funding Planned Parenthood again.
As a result, a federal district court (a) granted a motion for a preliminary injunction which delayed the enforcement of the law. However on August 8, the American Center for Law & Justice urged a federal appeals court (b) to reverse the lower court’s (a) decision. This would result in the law being upheld – once again prohibiting federal funds from going to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
The most contentious section of the new law states, “An agency of the state may not: (1) enter into a contract with; or (2) 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.”
But Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ states that states do in fact have the constitutional authority to determine how they spend federal funds. “Indiana’s decision to no longer use federal money to fund the nation’s largest abortion provider is not only a constitutionally sound decision, but one we hope is implemented in other states across the country,” he said.
I paraphrased the following from ACLJ’s August 8 Press Release,
Federal Medicaid statutes and regulations give States broad discretion to create the rules applicable to that State’s Medicaid programs. Congress left intact the States’ authority to determine what makes an entity qualified to provide Medicaid services [42 U.S.C. Section 1396a(p)(1)], while ensuring that Medicaid recipients may utilize any practitioner deemed to be qualified under State law [42 U.S.C. Section 1396a(a)(23)]. Since HEA 1210 does not limit a beneficiary’s ability to choose among providers that are deemed to be qualified, it is consistent with federal Medicaid law.
In addition, the novel argument that abortion providers have a constitutional right to perform abortions and receive public funds finds no support in the law. HEA 1210’s public funding provisions are consistent with the standards set forth in cases illustrating that a government’s decision to not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion is constitutionally sound. As such, HEA 1210 does not violate doctors’ rights because it does not violate patients’ rights.
ACLJ which is basing its case on The Constitution’s protection of State rights, speaks on behalf of more than 40 members of Congress (including Indiana’s entire House delegation) and the more than 25,000 Americans who have signed on to the Committee to Defund Planned Parenthood’s Abortions at the State Level.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana is complaining that,
During the 2011 Indiana General Assembly, HEA 1210 passed, depriving Medicaid patients of their preferred provider – Planned Parenthood of Indiana – a clear violation of federal law. HEA 1210 essentially denies PPIN state contracts and grants – solely because it provides a constitutionally-protected procedure. [emphases my own]
However Planned Parenthood of Indiana is clearly not the preferred provider of Medicaid patients in Indiana. Indiana had Medicaid enrollment of 1,022,700 as of 2007. Planned Parenthood claims 9,300 Medicaid patients or 0.91% of all Indiana Medicaid recipients. There are 28 Planned Parenthood clinics and an additional 800 Medicaid providers that can provide patients with family planning services in Indiana.
Why then, with less than 1% of Indiana’s Medicaid patients, would Planned Parenthood be so upset that it would take the state of Indiana to court? For the simple fact that Planned Parenthood does over half of all abortions in Indiana. Indiana Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report shows that they did 5,580 termination procedures. Latest Indiana statistics show 10,680 abortions performed annually statewide by all providers. This means 52% of all Indiana abortions are performed at Planned Parenthood.
Indiana must stand strong against this last-ditched assault from Planned Parenthood, backed up by the most pro-abortion Administration we’ve seen yet.