Indiana’s Planned Parenthood may continue serving Medicaid patients seeking preventative care and receiving reimbursements for those patients following a court decision this week.
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU challenged an Indiana law signed by then Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2011 that defunded the organization--and similar organizations--because it offered abortions.The U.S. Supreme Court rejected hearing the case
this year, sending it back to a lower court that had already ruled the state cannot withhold Medicaid reimbursements to the organization.In the settlement reached, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt reaffirmed that women have the right to choose their healthcare provider, which was at the hear of the debate, according to Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. The Indiana ruling in the latest development in a series of state challenges to funding for Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health facilities. “It certainly has an impact on a national basis because it’s so clear that Medicaid patients have a right to choose their provider," says Cockrum.She adds as more doctors are taking on fewer Medicaid patients, Planned Parenthood has become an important healthcare source for many women. Around 9,300 Medicaid patients are estimated to use one of Indiana’s 26 Planned Parenthood facilities across the state, Cockrum says.“We’re hopeful that at some point the anti-Planned Parenthood contingent will figure out that birth control is really a good idea for avoiding unintended pregnancy in the interest of reducing abortion, which is something we all seek to do," she says.The organization receives an estimated $1.3 million annually in Medicaid reimbursements, according to Cockrum.From our friends up Indiana Public Media
In a statement released following the news of the injunction, Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter says, “The news of this agreement is not surprising, but it is disappointing. Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest abortion provider, will continue to receive funds through the Medicaid program, effectively freeing up other monies to expand and support its abortion business.” Fichter says the fact that Planned Parenthood still will not receive federal block grants administered by the state a “a small silver lining.” In a statement, Attorney General Greg Zoeller says it was important and necessary to defend the legislature’s policy decision. Zoeller says Indiana could have a chance to weigh in on the issue if legal challenges to similar statutes in other states come before the U-S Supreme Court