INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s attorney general on Tuesday appealed a judge’s
ruling that blocked key aspects of a new state law that cut some public
funding for Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions.
Greg Zoeller filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of
Appeals in Chicago, a move that was expected after U.S. District Judge Tanya
Walton Pratt issued a preliminary injunction last week blocking parts of the
was granted as part of a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana.
The state will submit the legal basis for its appeal later, but in its
failed attempt to block the injunction, it argued that a separate challenge
to the law was the proper forum to determine its legality, not Planned
In that case,
the state is appealing Medicaid Administrator Donald Berwick’s June 1
decision rejecting changes to Indiana’s Medicaid plan brought on by the new
law. Berwick contended that Medicaid recipients have the right to obtain
treatment from any qualified provider, including those that provide
abortions. The state filed that appeal with Berwick’s office on Thursday,
and if the two sides can’t work out a compromise, that dispute would also
likely land before the appeals court in Chicago, Zoeller told The Associated
Press on Tuesday.
“There is this
process between the federal and state governments which is the proper
process by which these things are resolved,” Zoeller said.
seeks a review of the preliminary injunction before any further action is
taken on Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit, which seeks a permanent injunction
against the law. The injunction Pratt issued Friday would remain in effect
while the appeal is pending.
Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the law May 10, it immediately cut off about $1.4
million to Planned Parenthood and made Indiana the first state to deny the
organization Medicaid funds for general health services, including cancer
screenings. The law’s other provisions are set to take effect July 1, but
Pratt also issued a preliminary injunction blocking one of those — a
requirement that doctors providing abortions inform their patients that a
fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation or sooner.
Parenthood, which serves about 9,300 Indiana clients on the state-federal
health insurance plan for low-income and disabled people, went without
Medicaid funding after the law took effect but continued seeing Medicaid
patients until last week, when private donations that paid those patients’
bills ran out. It resumed seeing Medicaid patients after Pratt ruled.
confident we will prevail in our legal arguments and find it regrettable
that the Indiana Attorney General has chosen to invest even more state
resources in an appeal,” Betty Cockrum, the head of Planned Parenthood of
Indiana, said in a statement.
The state has
argued that Medicaid, even though it does not fund abortions in most cases,
indirectly subsidizes the procedures at Planned Parenthood because the
organization’s financial statements show it comingles Medicaid funds with
other revenues and the public money might pay some of the overhead costs for
space where abortions are performed.
Pratt noted in
her ruling that the administration of President Barack Obama had threatened
to withhold some or all of Indiana’s Medicaid funds because of the new law,
which could total more than $5 billion annually and affect nearly 1 million
Medicaid bulletin issued the same day as Berwick’s decision rejecting the
Indiana changes said states cannot exclude qualified health care providers
merely because they also provide abortions.
the injunction could pit the federal government against the State of Indiana
in a high-stakes political impasse,” the judge wrote. “And if dogma trumps
pragmatism and neither side budges, Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens could
end up paying the price as the collateral damage of a partisan battle.”