INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A judge on Tuesday made permanent her order barring
Indiana from denying Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood clinics, ending
the state’s two-year legal fight.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued her permanent injunction after
the U.S. Supreme Court in May refused to hear Indiana’s appeal in the case.
Days later, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an
administrative ruling siding with Planned Parenthood.
Indiana had sought to prevent Medicaid enrollees from accessing health care
at clinics operated by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky because
the organization provides abortions.
Planned Parenthood, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, had
argued that a 2011 Indiana law targeting the organization should be blocked
because it probably conflicted with a federal Medicaid statute that protects
patients’ rights to make their own decisions about health care providers.
“This decision recognizes the rights and liberties of health care providers
and the women they serve,” said ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane
Henegar. “We hope lawmakers will now see where federal law and the
Constitution draw the line to protect individuals against government
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued a statement saying “it was
important and necessary to defend the policy decision of the people’s
elected representatives in the Legislature that Medicaid dollars should not
indirectly subsidize the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion
“If legal challenges to similar statutes in other states eventually reach
the United States Supreme Court, then Indiana would have another opportunity
through an amicus brief to assert this legal argument,” Zoeller said.
Tuesday’s ruling made permanent the judge’s June 2011 preliminary
injunction. It came a day after the two sides filed an agreement with the
court stipulating that the state cannot violate Medicaid’s “freedom of
The legal battle dating to May 2011 was marked by a temporary interruption
in Planned Parenthood’s ability to receive reimbursement for seeing Medicaid
patients for routine care such as Pap smears, breast exams and pregnancy
The interruption, however, led 1,600 donors in 48 states and on three
continents to provide about $500,000 allowing Medicaid recipients to
continue to receive at Planned Parenthood’s more than 20 clinics across
Indiana, said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of
Indiana and Kentucky.
“We’ve been encouraged at every step along the way, but two years is a long
time, and it certainly did introduce some confusion out there for our
patients,” Cockrum said in a telephone interview. “That’s unfortunate
anytime when Indiana is seeing a lot of economic duress. We’re seeing the
number of Hoosiers living in poverty increase. It’s a bad time for people to
have confusion about their health care.”
The 2011 law would have made Indiana the first to deny the organization
Medicaid funds for general health services. The state argued that Medicaid
funds intended to help groups such as 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 federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest
or when the life of the mother is at risk.