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Indiana: Abortion law for government to decide

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A dispute between Indiana and federal Medicaid officials over Indiana's new abortion law cutting off some public funding for Planned Parenthood should be resolved by government administrators and not the courts, Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher told a federal judge Monday.

Fisher and Ken Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Planned Parenthood of Indiana in its request for a federal injunction blocking the law, presented oral arguments on the injunction and the law before U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.

Pratt has said she will rule on the case by July 1, when some provisions in the law take effect. She gave Fisher and Falk 10 days to file additional written arguments in the case.

"Time is of the essence," Pratt said, noting that Planned Parenthood has said June 20 is the day it expects to run out of funding to provide general health services such as breast exams and Pap tests to the 9,300 Medicaid patients it serves at 28 health centers across Indiana.

The law signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels on May 10 would cut off about $1.4 million in Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood, but Falk and Fisher agreed that as much as $5.3 billion in Medicaid funds to the state could be at risk since Medicaid Administrator Donald Berwick rejected changes in Indiana's state Medicaid plan brought on by the law. Berwick told Indiana Medicaid Director Pat Casanova last week that federal law says beneficiaries can obtain services from any qualified provider.

Fisher told Pratt the amount of money at stake in the state-federal dispute isn't resolved yet because Indiana has 60 days to appeal Berwick's decision last week, and the two sides will try to work out a resolution. He referred to the $5.3 billion as a "nuclear option" and conceded under questioning by Pratt that it could happen.

"Does that make you nervous?" she asked Fisher.

"Of course it does," he replied.

Planned Parenthood must show it's likely to eventually prevail in the case before Pratt will grant an injunction, and Falk said Berwick's decision does exactly that.

Falk said the law made Indiana the first state to deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood for general health services

The state argues that federal law forbids Medicaid to cover abortions in most circumstances and that the joint federal-state health insurance program indirectly funds abortions because the organization's financial statements show it commingles Medicaid funds with other revenue.

Planned Parenthood of Central Indiana conducted more than 5,500 abortions last year.

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  • Whatever
    Bushman, you don't even have any idea what you are talking about. Not only did you spell Medicaid incorrectly you do not have your facts correct. Abortion is NOT the primary business of Planned Parenthood. Your suggestion to trim business costs by cutting staff is plain stupid. In this economy, you recommend cutting staff so more people will be collecting unemployment and welfare benefits or will we deny them benefits because they used to work for Planned Parenthood? I love that Indiana Right to Life's solution to a problem they created is to tell Planned Parenthood to just change their business model and carve out the abortion piece under a different tax id number. Really??? You thumb your nose at federal law but those who are doing nothing wrong are supposed to change their business model to suit you? Where do we draw the line on this? Medicaid does not cover or allow funding for cosmetic procedures. However, Medicaid dollars are paid to dermatologists, ophthalmologists, and other surgeons for non-cosmetic procedures and that reimbursement is comingled within the organizational structure and therefore, using the Right to Life argument, supports the provision of cosmetic procedures for which payment is prohibited. I also find it amusing that it is okay for hospitals and ASCs to continue to receive Medicaid funding even though they perform abortions. This is a clear case of provider discrimination.
  • Abortion
    I surely would like to put Luke Kennerly and Pat Bauer in a cage and roll it down a steep hill.
  • Ms.
    I wonder why all the eyes are on planned parenthood. Planned parenthood does not do abortions over 13weeks and 6 days wishard hospital goes up to 20weeks but you never hear bout that are the taking away wishards funds.
  • Why can't Indiana stay out of my uterus?
    Why can't Planned Parenthood quit doing abortions? Because it's legal and it's a flipping choice! They give a woman ALL her options not just ones that are approved by the religious right-wing nut jobs. Why can't Indiana stop trying to push their social agenda and passing laws they know are not legal and will be challenged by the fed? Bushman, really? Do you not fact check at all? Are you in the Senator Kyl camp? "Not intended to be a factual statement?" You people are throwing stones at Planned Parenthood without the least bit of knowledge of what they really do. Planned Parenthood has helped millions of women from ALL walks of life and helped PREVENT abortions, by educating people on birth control methods and offering it for free or at a price poor women can afford - educated or uneducated. Sex is a fact of life, people will never stop having it, so education is key. Planned Parenthood is a major component of that education.
  • NOT IN MY BACK YARD
    A long time ago I used to be pro life...that is until I needed to have an abortion from being mugged/raped. I DID NOT CHOOSE to have this happen to me, I DID NOT CHOOSE nearly be killed just because someone overpowered me. And lastly, I DID NOT CHOOSE to become pregnant...but it happened. While abortion is not the answer in every case...it certainly was in mine. Too often, children are raised in poor circumstances because the parents cannot take care of them appropriately...and often times they become wards of the state. These children suffer and deserve a better chance. The govt has poked their nos into someone's choices for way too long. If the govt is supposed to help protect...then why do they look down upon women like me and say that if you can't take care of the baby...we can...and this is not the truth. So, abortion should stand as it is...for those who need/choose it...and not for those whoo simply want to stick their nose into other people's business.

  • China All Over Again
    How is the state trying to dictate what I can and can't do with my body any different than China dictating that all women must have an abortion after male baby #1? To me, there is no difference; it's all bureaucrats who are wholly uninvolved in the every day lives of women, dictating those every day lives for them.

    Personally, I am pro-life, but that does NOT mean that I believe that abortion should be illegal. If I lived in China, I wouldn't have my daughter, and I can't imagine life without her. Likewise, there are many women who find themselves in a situation that they never imagined themselves in, and they are forced to make a very difficult decision.

    I find it interesting that most of the people who are anti-choice are also against social programs (that help women who have chosen to keep their babies) and single mothers (who wouldn't be that way if they hadn't chosen to go through with their pregnancies, despite being single); yet are highly religious (religion condones the killing of innocent children on countless occasions) and pro-war. What an interesting set of contradictions.
  • Taxpayer
    @concerned tax payer and Bushman, it's so sad with all the information available today you don't take the time to read, understand and know the exact services planned parenthood provides, abortion is the least services provided by planned parenthood, the majority of their services is for pap smears, birth control education, breast exams for early cancer detection sorry that you feel these services should suffer because law makers want to do away with helping those who are less fortunate their purposes is not abortion but doing away with assistance on every level possible there should not be any discrimination in today's society and it's sad people can not see the destructions the repubs are doing to our state and nation..... hoping that CMS will be victorious in preventing this law from going into effect soon and funds will be available again
  • ahem
    Actually, abortions only account for 3% of planned parenthood's money. And the federal government has never paid for abortions. Any women who want one have to pay it in full. I would never get an abortion, but I would never deny any other woman the right to choose.
  • Why?
    Why can't Planned parenthood quit doing abortions and recommending them and then they could have the medicaid funds? They have drawn a line in the sand and they are not liking the fact they ended up on the other side of it.
    • Pro Abortion
      Abortion is the main business of Planned Parenthood = breat exams and pap smears are a side offering to asuage their bloody nurder of babies. They say, "Time is of the essence," Pratt said, noting that Planned Parenthood has said June 20 is the day it expects to run out of funding to provide general health services such as breast exams and Pap tests to the 9,300 Medicaid patients it serves at 28 health centers across Indiana.
      Well, trim your business cost by eleminating staff & equipment needed to kill babies and deliver the "General medical services" using medicade funding just like other medical practices do. Oh, I almost forgot reducing the human population is your goal. Who stands for the rights of that little girl - defenseless - in the womb? PPH surely doesn't they don't have a "CHOICE".

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