Federal Appeals Court blocks Indiana’s efforts to bar Planned Parenthood funding.
The Seventh District Court of Appeals has further stymied Indiana’s efforts to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in that state. Republican Governor Mitch Daniels had signed a bill in May 2011 to deny state or federal funds to Planned Parenthood clinics that offer general health services, including birth control and cancer screening. A federal law known as the Hyde Amendment already bars federal funding for abortion. But the Indiana law is aimed at blocking funds for other Planned Parenthood services because Daniels and other proponents believe such funds provide indirect funding for abortions which Planned Parenthood also provides.
Although the Appeals Court reversed one part of an earlier U.S. District Court decision against the new Indiana law, it solidified the freedom of choice right for patients eligible for Medicaid who seek health services at Planned Parenthood Clinics, including those in Indiana.
The Appeals Court ruled that under federal law “state Medicaid plans must allow beneficiaries to obtain medical care from ‘any institution, agency, …or person qualified to perform the service.’ This is individual-rights language, stated in mandatory terms, and interpreting the right does not strain judicial competence.”
Today’s ruling doesn’t actually change things in Indiana because a month after Governor Daniels signed the state law U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued an order requiring the state not to discontinue the funding to Planned Parenthood pending the resolution of the organization’s legal action against the state.
Read the opinion..