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Supreme Court: Indiana Can't Block Medicaid Funding for Planned Parenthood

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By Leonardo Blair , CP Reporter
May 29, 2013|5:39 pm
supreme court (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Tourists walk in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, March 24, 2013. In their first-ever review of same-sex marriage laws, the nine justices on the country's highest court are hearing arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday on one of the most politically charged dilemmas of the day, bound with themes of religion, sexuality and social custom.

Abortion rights advocate Planned Parenthood got a boost from a Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday which upheld a previous ruling in lower courts that Indiana could not block Medicaid funding for the organization's clinics because they perform abortions.

"Today's announcement from the Supreme Court is not only a victory for Planned Parenthood's patients in Indiana, it is a victory for the nearly 3 million people who turn to Planned Parenthood health centers each year across the country," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in a Los Angeles Times report on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court let stand rulings by an Indiana federal judge and the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago preventing Indiana's 2011 law from taking effect. It would have banned Medicaid funding from organizations that perform abortions like Planned Parenthood clinics.

Indiana's "defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, violating its patients' statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice," wrote Judge Diane S. Sykes of the U.S. 7th Circuit last year.

Planned Parenthood also benefited from the support of the Obama administration which argued that the Medicaid law gives eligible low-income patients the right to make their own decisions about health care providers.

Indiana became the first state in 2011 to bar federal tax dollars, in the form of Medicaid payments, from going to clinics that provide abortions. Though federal law already prohibits the use of tax dollars to fund abortions, legislators supporting the bill argued that abortions were still being subsidized as federal funds used to support non-abortion related activities freed funds for abortion services.

 

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