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Appeals Court Upholds Injunction Against Ind. Law Prohibiting Medicaid Funding to Planned Parenthood

Appeals Court Upholds Injunction Against Ind. Law Prohibiting Medicaid Funding to Planned Parenthood

October 24, 2012 — The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld an injunction against an Indiana law prohibiting the distribution of state and federal Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood of Indiana and other organizations that offer abortion services, the AP/Washington Post reports.

In June 2011, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued a temporary injunction blocking parts of the law, but the state appealed.

The appeals court upheld a core portion of Pratt's ruling that said Indiana cannot bar qualified Medicaid providers that also provide abortions from collecting Medicaid funds for any services. The law violates patients' right to choose their medical providers, the appeals court said (AP/Washington Post, 10/23).

Judge Diane Sykes noted in the ruling that while the law violated Medicaid regulations, it did not "impermissibly burden" a woman's right to an abortion. Sykes reasoned that because courts have upheld bans on public funding of abortion, the state's "ban on funding for abortion providers -- even for unrelated services -- cannot indirectly burden a woman's right to obtain an abortion."

Response

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) had no immediate comment on Tuesday (Palazzolo, "Law Blog," Wall Street Journal, 10/23).

Talcott Camp, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project, said, "This law was an attempt by politicians to punish organizations that are providing legal services," adding, "Elected officials should not place politics above women's health" (Bassett, Huffington Post, 10/23).