A federal judge in Indiana June 24 struck down a key provision of Indiana’s tough new law that precluded Planned Parenthood from treating the state’s Medicaid recipients, thus creating a health care dilemma for low-income women who could not otherwise afford to pay for such services.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction that declared unconstitutional the law’s provision that went into effect May 10 banning Planned Parenthood from using Medicaid funds to provide services for women at 28 Indiana clinics, the Associated Press reported.
Had the judge not issued the injunction, Planned Parenthood would have been forced to close clinics in the state and cut staff.
Indiana, the first state in the nation to block Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood, had cut off $1.4 million that was earmarked to cover health care for 9,300 clients in Indiana who are on the state-federal health insurance plan for low-income and disabled people
Nicole Robbins, 31, who has been a patient at an Indiana Planned Parenthood clinic for six years, was supposed to pick up her two-month supply of birth control pills on Tuesday; but was unable to receive them, as funds were no longer available.
“There are a lot of people who don’t have jobs, who don’t have income, and Medicaid is their only source of income as far as health insurance,” she told the Associated Press. “I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
The state argued that because Medicaid funds are commingled with other revenues, the possibility existed that Indiana would be subsidizing portions of the overhead costs for space where abortions are performed.
The Obama administration, however, took the position that this type of Medicaid de-funding for Planned Parenthood violated federal law. A friend of the court brief was filed by the Justice Department in support of Planned Parenthood’s injunction request, the Associated Press reported.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller had previously said that he would fight the administration’s attempt to block the new state law going into effect and called the Justice Department’s filing “inappropriate.”
In addition to the Medicaid restrictions, the new state law also has abortion restrictions, but these restrictions will not go into effect until July 1. Under these provisions in the law, abortions are banned after the 20th week of pregnancy, with some exceptions, and doctors are required to tell a woman seeking an abortion that life starts at conception.
In order to acquire more money for health services nationally, Planned Parenthood has launched a “Dollar-for-Dollar Match” campaign, which will end June 30. Every membership donation made will be matched by the organization to “provide vital support to health centers across the country,” the organization’s Web site stated.