The U.S. Supreme Court refused May 28 to review a lower court's invalidation of a 2011 law challenged by Planned Parenthood, the country's leading abortion provider. The high court's refusal meant a ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals against a ban on Medicaid reimbursements for abortion providers will stand, but it also included a victory for pro-lifers. The action enabled a state ban on some federal block grants for abortion providers to continue.
The case will return to a federal court, which temporarily blocked enforcement of the law in 2011, for what is expected to be a win for Planned Parenthood and its allies, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Supporters of the law expressed their disappointment in the Supreme Court's unwillingness to accept the appeal.
"Indiana lawmakers -- and the people they represent -- should have the right to decide whether their hard-earned tax dollars end up in the hands of the abortion industry," said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life.
The justices "missed an opportunity to clarify, once and for all, that states may cut the abortion industry off from all sources of taxpayer funding," Yoest said in a written release. "Big Abortion has no constitutional right to force Americans to support its deadly industry with tax dollars."
U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, a Republican from Indiana, said the justices "failed the American people today. Abortion providers should provide for themselves and not be subsidized by taxpayers."
Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $500 million a year in government money, applauded the Supreme Court's refusal of the appeal.
"This has been a long fight, but one that has been worthwhile because we've been fighting on behalf of our patients and their access to lifesaving, preventive care such as Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control and STD testing and treatment," said Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana.
While Planned Parenthood contends Medicaid funding goes toward non-abortion services, pro-life advocates say the money can be used interchangeably and frees up other funds for the organization's abortion business.
Affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America reported performing 333,964 abortions during 2010-11, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That was an annual record for the organization. Planned Parenthood also established a record for funds received from federal, state and local governments -- $542.4 million in grants and reimbursements during the latest fiscal year.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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