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Legal News: Law Blog - WSJ.com
Federal Judge Reviews Controversial Indiana Law Blocking Abortion Funding
By Nathan Koppel
A federal judge today heard arguments in a case involving a controversial Indiana law that bans organizations, including Planned Parenthood, from receiving Medicaid funds if they provide abortions.
The Obama administration has objected to the law and told Indiana officials that it’s illegal and could result in the state losing all of its $4 billion in Medicaid funding.
On Monday, Indianapolis federal judge Tanya Walton Pratt heard arguments in a suit brought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana, which is trying to block the law. Here’s an article by Reuters and one from the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Medicaid funds cannot be used to pay for abortions. But Indiana contends that Medicaid funds should be withheld from Planned Parenthood even for non-abortion services, because such funds help Planned Parenthood stay in business and thus indirectly subsidize abortions.
The Indiana law is being considered by other states, Reuters reports.
Planned Parenthood has claimed that the law could cause 9,300 Medicaid patients to lose their preferred provider for other, non-abortion services, such as contraceptives and cancer screening, according to Reuters.
At today’s hearing, Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher said that the state can determine which health providers are qualified to get federal funding.
ACLU attorney Ken Falk, representing Planned Parenthood, said his client will suffer irreparable harm if the court does not order the state to resume paying the organization for non-abortion services, according to the Courier-Journal.
Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said after the hearing that the organization has only received enough private donations to keep serving existing Medicaid recipients through June 20, the Courier-Journal reports.
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