INDIANAPOLIS – A U.S. District Court judge today held a hearing on Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s request for a preliminary injunction against HEA 1210, the new state law that strips Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN). PPIN is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU). The Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt did not indicate specifically when she will issue her decision, but said it will be by July 1.
Judge Walton Pratt heard arguments from both the ACLU and the state this morning. On behalf of PPIN, the ACLU argued that the defunding language in HEA 1210 violates federal Medicaid law and the U.S. Constitution. PPIN also contended that thanks to this new measure, its health care professionals will be forced to make statements to patients that are not medically and scientifically based, also in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
"We have a strong case and look forward to continuing to communicate that the state has made a huge and costly mistake – one that breaks laws that are already on the books and erodes Hoosiers’ access to health care across Indiana." - Betty Cockrum, Planned Parenthood
“Pap tests, cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment – that’s what’s at stake here,” said PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum. “We’re seeking this preliminary injunction on behalf of the thousands of low-income patients who count on us.
“We have a strong case and look forward to continuing to communicate that the state has made a huge and costly mistake – one that breaks laws that are already on the books and erodes Hoosiers’ access to health care across Indiana,” Cockrum said.
While PPIN awaits a ruling in the preliminary injunction case, the organization has been able to provide care to its existing Medicaid patients. This has occurred solely because of the generosity of supporters from around the country and as far away as Australia.
To date, PPIN has received contributions totaling more than $100,000 from individuals in 46 states, as well as from donors from two other continents. These contributions gave PPIN the financial capacity to continue to see existing Medicaid patients through June 20, albeit with some limitations - the gifts are a direct result of the Indiana legislature and Gov. Mitch Daniels’ decision to approve HEA 1210, which prohibits the state from entering into contracts with, or granting to, any entities (other than hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers) that provide abortions.
“We will be forever grateful to those who ‘are standing with Planned Parenthood’ during these difficult times,” Cockrum said. “But we know this huge outpouring of support is only temporary – the majority of these gifts will be one-time only. The irresponsibility of lawmakers has forced us into court to protect our Medicaid patients long-term and ensure they receive care from us for another eighty years.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to the director of Indiana’s Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning, stating that HEA 1210 illegally precludes Medicaid patients from receiving services from their provider of choice. HHS also posted a notice to other interested parties, seeking to make clear that the department would take a dim view of similar efforts in other states to ban specific providers from Medicaid reimbursement. PPIN applauded this rejection of HEA 1210’s changes to Medicaid, and hopes that it will set an example nationwide that this type of harmful legislation is unacceptable.