After a difficult legislative session this year, Planned Parenthood of Indiana will enter the 2012 session with two new members on its lobbying team.
The organization recently hired a new senior public policy director, Catherine O’Connor, who served in policy roles under Democratic governors Frank O’Bannon and Joe Kernan before spending the last five years with Indiana Humanities.
The group also added a public policy analyst, Lauren Patton, who will work with O’Connor on public affairs efforts.
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman said the recent hires fill long-standing roles within the organization.
But they could be increasingly important following last year’s legislative session, in which state lawmakers passed a law to cut off Medicaid funding to providers such as Planned Parenthood that offer abortions.
Planned Parenthood sued to challenge the law, alleging the provision violates federal Medicaid law.
An Indianapolis judge put the law on hold six weeks after Gov. Mitch Daniels signed it, and the state has appealed to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to reverse the judge’s injunction until the lawsuit is resolved.