Tough Pro-Life Law Forcing Ind. Abortion Clinics to Close

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By Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter
June 22, 2011|10:00 pm

Planned Parenthood of Indiana announced it has downsized its operations, shutting down several facilities and shortening its hours of operation, in the absence of federal court intervention to halt Indiana law cutting Medicaid funds to abortion clinics.

A letter posted on the PPIN website Wednesday announced it has now shut down seven of its health centers and has laid off two disease intervention specialists since Gov. Mitch Daniels signed HEA 1201 into law May 11.

The legislation barring federal funding through Medicaid to health care providers that also provide abortions is meant to keep taxpayer dollars from paying for abortion, not to shut down the clinics. The bill also bans abortion for women over 20 weeks pregnant unless there is a substantial threat the woman's life or health.

A similar ban has been unsuccessfully presented to Congress. Pro-life advocates and supporters of the federal bill argue that Planned Parenthood is a multi-million-dollar business that can sustain itself through its earnings and private donations.

The state branch says it has been using private donations to fund its facilities since May 11. Those funds, however, are running out, they claim. The group publicized Tuesday that many of its employees were put on furloughs in the hopes of spurring judicial intervention.

No intervention was made, and the branch moved forward with its planned closures.

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The closed centers, however, only account for less than a quarter of PPIN's 34 locations in the state.

Still, PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum lamented the closings stating, "We hope the state understands the position it is putting patients in."

The state contends that several sources of low-cost health services remain alive and well in all of its counties.

"I commissioned a careful review of access to services across the state and can confirm that all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women's health, will remain readily available in every one of our 92 counties," Daniels stated in May.

A list obtained by The Christian Post shows there are a total of 800 non-abortion facilities providing health care services for Medicaid patients throughout the state.

According to Daniels, this list of services has been mailed to Medicaid recipients who would be impacted by the Planned Parenthood closings.

PPIN is still appealing for a temporary injunction to HEA 1201 while U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt considers a lawsuit waged by Planned Parenthood. President Barack Obama's administration has joined Planned Parenthood in the lawsuit to debunk the law.

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher said the case doesn't belong in court, and asserted that the state can decide which health care providers are qualified for federal funding through Medicaid.

Judge Fisher is expected to issue her decision on July 1.

 

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