Proud To Be A Hoosier Again: Courts Block Indiana’s Defunding Of Planned Parenthood

planned parenthoodGood news for Hoosiers who value women’s reproductive health. In 2011, Indiana was the first state to officially defund Planned Parenthood, saying that it shouldn’t receive any Medicaid funds because it provides abortions to women. Of course, the funds from Medicaid are never used for abortions, those procedures are financed by the clinics separately. But conservatives in the Indiana State government didn’t really care about the facts. Now, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it inserted the government in between women and their doctors.

Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, who helped Planned Parenthood argue their case against the state, said this after the ruling was handed down:

“This is not about an abortion case. This is a case about Medicaid services – non-abortion-related services – and the attempt by the state of Indiana to punish Planned Parenthood and its clients from receiving non-abortion health services merely because Planned Parenthood, without any sort of state or federal money or any Medicaid funds, also provides abortions.”

The ruling is a victory for the family planning center, but also for the women of Indiana who seek preventative care, contraceptives, and cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood. It’s a win for any man who cares about women and their ability to keep themselves safe and healthy.

As we’ve learned in other states where reproductive healthcare has come under fire, the attacks on Planned Parenthood have an enormous impact on women’s abilities to get safe medical services. In Texas, women have been crossing the border to get an unreliable over-the-counter drug in Mexico when they can’t get safe abortion services. Even clinics that don’t provide abortions have been shut down, hurting low-income mothers who rely on the organization for contraception and Pap Smears.

Thankfully, the Indiana law hadn’t made a huge impact on the services provided in our state just yet. And now, it won’t eve be able to. Women and their healthcare are safe from the prying eyes of state legislators for at least a little while longer. The court ruling explains, “The defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, violating its patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.”

Similar lawsuits are happening across the country where Republican state houses have been busy focusing on reproductive rights for the last two years, no matter how many political ads come out saying that the economy is everyone’s sole focus. Hopefully more Justices will agree that Planned Parenthood provides a valuable service outside of abortions and that women should be able to get reproductive healthcare without the government’s interference.

(Photo: michael rubin/Shutterstock)

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