Supreme Court Sidesteps Indiana Case Defunding Planned Parenthood

By:  Dave Bohon
Supreme Court Sidesteps Indiana Case Defunding Planned Parenthood

The Supreme Court has given a victory to Planned Parenthood, refusing to hear a case that overturned an Indiana law banning state affiliates of the abortion giant from receiving federal Medicaid funding.

The Supreme Court has refused to consider an appeal of a lower court's ruling that overturned Indiana's de-funding of abortion giant Planned Parenthood. In 2011 Indiana became the first state to target funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers when its legislature passed a bill, signed into law by then Governor Mitch Daniels, to cut $3 million in federal Medicaid funding for the abortion business.

Planned Parenthood promptly sued to block the law, and in October 2012 a three-judge panel of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came to Planned Parenthood's defense, upholding a lower court's ruling that the funding ban violates a federal statute allowing patients in state Medicaid programs to choose their healthcare providers. In its decision the panel returned the case to the lower court, ruling that the Indiana law “excludes a class of providers from Medicaid for reasons unrelated to provider qualifications.”

The funding ban has been on hold since 2011, and with the High Court's May 28 refusal to hear the case, Planned Parenthood's lawsuit will go back to the lower court for what appears to be a final victory for the abortion giant. Several other states have followed Indiana's lead in de-funding Planned Parenthood, including Arizona, Florida, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Pro-life leaders speculate that the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case may impact laws in those states as well.

Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, applauded the High Court's decision. “This has been a long fight,” she said, “but one that has been worthwhile because we've been fighting on behalf of our patients and their access to lifesaving, preventive care such as Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control, and STD testing and treatment.” Planned Parenthood's national manager, Cecile Richards, added that the Supreme Court's refusal “is not only a victory for Planned Parenthood's patients in Indiana, it is a victory for the nearly three million people who turn to Planned Parenthood health centers each year across the country.”

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