August 9, 2011 Print

Congressmen Defend State’s Right to Defund Planned Parenthood

by Karla Dial

A law prohibiting Indiana from distributing Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood has some powerful advocates on its side — namely, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), 25,000 Americans and 41 U.S. Representatives — most of whom are from states also trying to defund Planned Parenthood.

Signed in May by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, the law was immediately put on hold when Planned Parenthood and the ACLU challenged it in federal court, which later granted a motion for preliminary injunction. The case was then appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed on behalf of the congressmen — including all Indiana House Republicans — a “friend of the court” brief on Aug. 8, defending the state’s right to distribute federal funds as it sees fit.

“HEA 1210 (Indiana’s state law) is not rendered unreasonable or inconsistent with federal Medicaid law simply because it bolsters Indiana’s strong interests in encouraging childbirth and ensuring that abortions are not directly or indirectly subsidized by public funds,” the brief states. “Indiana may reasonably conclude that sending large sums of public funds to abortion providers that also provide non-abortion services within the same organization serves to indirectly subsidize abortion activities.”

Planned Parenthood — which receives more than $350 million a year from taxpayers via “government grants and contracts” challenged the law by saying it has a “constitutional right” to perform abortions and receive public funds.

CitizenLink Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht said federal law clearly “gives the states wide latitude in determining who qualifies as a Medicaid provider, and that’s what Indiana is taking advantage of.”

This year, six states moved to defund Planned Parenthood: Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood is suing Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina in federal court.

“The state efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are the latest installment of the state versus federal health care battle, and one that will continue in the future,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of issue analysis for CitizenLink. “If (they) are successful in securing their rights in federal court, you will see even more states try to defund Planned Parenthood next year.”

Read the complete ACLJ amicus brief: http://c0391070.cdn2.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/pdf/aclj-s-amicus-brief-supporting-indiana-law-defunding-planned-parenthood.pdf

Download Americans United for Life’s groundbreaking report on Planned Parenthood.

Read Kathryn J. Lopez’s July 7 interview with Charmaine Yoest.

See how your U.S. Representative voted on H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (passed the House 251-175).

See how your U.S. Representative voted on the Black/Roby resolution to defund Planned Parenthood (passed by a vote of 241-185-1).

In Their Own Words: Planned Parenthood does not need more than $363 million in taxpayer support.

Read The Wall Street Journal’s opinion piece, “Planned Parenthood Takes on the States.”