Elected Officials and Health Care and Mitch Daniels and Legislature and State Government and Government and Health Care & Life Sciences and Health Care & Insurance

Daniels to sign bill defunding Planned Parenthood

April 29, 2011

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said Friday he will sign restrictive abortion legislation and make Indiana the first state to cut off all government funding for Planned Parenthood, a move likely to boost his credentials among social conservatives as he considers whether to run for president.

Daniels said he supported the abortion restrictions from the outset and that the provision added to defund Planned Parenthood did not change his mind. He said women's health, family planning and other services will remain available.

"The principle involved commands the support of an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers," Daniels said in a statement announcing his intention to sign the bill when it arrives on his desk in about a week.

But the measure also puts Daniels' state at risk of losing $4 million a year in federal family planning grants likely to be cut off because of the legislation. Daniels, known as a fiscal hawk, did not address the loss in his statement.

The bill wasn't part of Daniels' agenda and he did not publicly advocate for the Planned Parenthood provision, but signing it might help his chances of winning the GOP nomination. Daniels opposes abortion rights, but his call for a Republican "truce" on social issues has drawn the ire of the social conservatives.

State Rep. Linda Lawson, a Democrat from Hammond who opposes the bill, said the legislation wouldn't win Daniels any friends among independents and women.

"It might be a maneuver, but I don't know if it's in his best interest," Lawson said.

Daniels said he has ordered Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration to ensure Medicaid recipients receive prompt notice of nearby care options.

"Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions," Daniels said.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana had urged Daniels to veto the bill and started a series of statewide rallies against it Friday.

Daniels, 62, has said he will decide on a run for president after the Indiana Legislature adjourns, which is expected Friday. He's also said he will not have a decision this weekend.

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