Ind. resists fed. warning on P. Parenthood

Baptist Press
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Posted: Jun 06, 2011 5:52 PM
Ind. resists fed. warning on P. Parenthood

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--Indiana says it will go forward with its new ban on funds for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers despite a warning from the federal government.

A state government official told the National Journal June 2 that Indiana will apply a law signed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels in May that prohibits state-directed funding of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. The governor's signing made Indiana reportedly the first state to enact such a prohibition on money for organizations that perform or promote abortion.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed Indiana in a June 1 letter that the state's new law restricting the use of state-directed Medicaid funds violates federal rules. While federal Medicaid money is not permitted to pay for abortions except in limited cases, a state program may not bar a qualified organization from funding because of its "scope of practice," wrote Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in the letter.

In spite of the federal rebuke, Marcus Barlow, a spokesman for Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration, told the National Journal, "The way the law was written, it went into effect the moment the governor signed it. We were just advised by our lawyers that we should continue to enforce Indiana law."

If successfully enforced, the Indiana law would cut about $1.3 million each year for Planned Parenthood, according to The Indianapolis Star. Indiana's refusal to alter its policy could cost the state $4 million in federal family planning funds through Medicaid and more than $4 billion in Medicaid money overall, The Star reported.

The federal rejection of Indiana's plan may serve as a threat to other state legislatures that are considering similar bills.

Nationwide, affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federal of America reported more than 332,000 abortions in 2009, making Planned Parenthood America's leading abortion provider.

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

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