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Ind. Bill Could Jeopardize Family Planning Funding; Kan. Bill Targets Abortion Coverage

Ind. Bill Could Jeopardize Family Planning Funding; Kan. Bill Targets Abortion Coverage

April 25, 2011 — Indiana's social services administrator on Thursday voiced concern that a bill (HB 1210) blocking funding for Planned Parenthood could jeopardize the $4 million the state receives from the federal government for family planning services for low-income residents, the Indianapolis Star reports (Gillers/Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, 4/22).

The bill, which the state Senate approved on Tuesday, would prohibit state contracts or grants for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion services. The bill also would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless a woman's life or health is substantially threatened. Current state law permits abortion before viability. The legislation would require that abortion providers inform women in writing that human life begins when the egg is fertilized, that abortion can increase the chances of infertility and that a fetus might feel pain before 20 weeks.

Federal and state laws already disallow the use of federal funds for abortion (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/20). In addition, federal law prohibits states from selecting which providers may offer family planning services to Medicaid recipients, meaning that restricting access to Planned Parenthood services could put the funding at risk, according to the Star.

In a statement on Thursday, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Michael Gargano said he has asked CMS about the issue. Planned Parenthood of Indiana receives about $3 million in public funding to provide services such as birth control, cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted infections. The organization provides care for about 9,300 Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as an additional 12,500 low-income state residents (Indianapolis Star, 4/22).

Kan. Bill Would Require Separate Policies for Abortion Coverage

Antiabortion-groups are trying to revive a Kansas bill (SB 65) that would bar health insurance plans from covering abortion care, unless the procedure was needed to save a woman's life, the AP/Wichita Eagle reports. The proposal would allow insurers to offer stand-alone policies for abortion coverage.

The bill also would ban the sale of any abortion coverage through health insurance exchanges established under the federal health reform law (PL 111-148).

Abortion-rights advocates say the Kansas bill is designed to limit access to abortion services by making it more difficult for women to pay for the procedure. Missouri and four other states already have laws requiring private insurance companies that offer abortion coverage to do so in separate, stand-alone policies. Critics of this system argue that it discourages insurers from offering the coverage at all.

Supporters of the Kansas bill are hoping to attach it to another piece of legislation once the state House and Senate reconvene on Wednesday (Hanna, AP/Wichita Eagle, 4/21).