INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A federal agency has denied Indiana’s appeal of an
administrative ruling barring the state from denying Planned Parenthood
Medicaid funds because it performs abortions, the state attorney general’s
office said Friday.
The agency announced the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services just a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up a
separate court case involving the same law.
Both decisions this week effectively nullified Indiana’s ability to enforce
a 2011 law targeting Planned Parenthood, saying it denied women the right to
choose their own medical providers.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller has maintained the issue was an administrative
one, not a legal one, but the state lost in both venues.
“Although the Supreme Court chose not to accept Indiana’s case for its next
term, we are monitoring other challenges to similar laws in other states
that are working their way through other federal circuit appeals courts, so
there may be another opportunity to assert our legal position through amicus
briefs to the Supreme Court that Medicaid dollars should not indirectly
subsidize the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion providers,” Zoeller
said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to take up an appellate ruling that
upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granting Planned
Parenthood a preliminary injunction to temporarily block the law,
precipitating the state’s court appeals.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Chicago found the changes
in Indiana’s Medicaid plan unacceptable, a decision which Indiana appealed.
But a hearing officer recommended a CMS administrator uphold the agency’s
initial decision, which this week it did.
The changes to Indiana’s plan resulted from a 2011 law that would have made
the state the first to deny the organization Medicaid funds for general
health services, including cancer screenings. The law had been on hold while
the dispute wended its way through the courts and the government.
Indiana had argued that Medicaid funds intended to help groups like Planned
Parenthood provide general health care would indirectly subsidize abortions.
The Hyde Amendment, a 1976 provision named after the late Rep. Henry Hyde,
R-Ill., bans all federal funds for abortion except in cases of rape, incest
or when the life of the mother is at risk.