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State gets week to respond in Planned Parenthood case

June 17, 2011

A federal judge on Friday gave the state of Indiana a week to respond to the Obama administration's decision siding with Planned Parenthood of Indiana in an attempt to block the state's new abortion funding law.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted the state's request that it receive a week to respond to a Justice Department brief filed Thursday. The brief supports Planned Parenthood's request for an injunction blocking a new state law that bars it from receiving Medicaid payments for general health services such as cancer screens.

The law signed May 10 by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels cuts off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions.

The Justice Department sided with Planned Parenthood in its brief, reiterating many of the same arguments the Obama administration laid out in a June 1 letter saying the state's new Medicaid plan violated federal law.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has said the state would appeal the Obama administration's ruling on Indiana's Medicaid plan and called Thursday's filing by the Justice Department "inappropriate."

"The federal government's surprise filing yesterday seems inappropriate as they should be heard in the administrative process and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that they have established for this purpose," Zoeller said in a statement Friday.

Planned Parenthood wrote in a separate filing Friday that it was fine with the state's request for additional time to respond.

Pratt has previously said that she expects to rule on the injunction request by July 1. It is unclear whether the late filings from the Justice Department and state will affect that deadline.

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