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Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Planned Parenthood Fails to Block Defunding

(CN) - A federal judge in Indiana refused to put the brakes on a new state law that defunds Planned Parenthood.

The family planning organization asked District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt to issue a preliminary injunction against the House Enrolled Act 1210, which Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed it into law on May 10.

The legislation prohibits Planned Parenthood from receiving taxpayers' money for basic services, including PAP smears, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and contraception.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and its supporters wanted to prevent the law from going into effect before a hearing on more permanent injunctive relief is held on June 6.

But Pratt allowed the state to cut the funds because Planned Parenthood only submitted "limited evidence" to support its case.

"The court is mindful that Planned Parenthood currently has several scheduled appointments and has alleged that it will be unable to provide care to these patients," she wrote. "The court is also mindful of Planned Parenthood's estimation that, as a result of this law, it will lose between $1.3 and $2 million dollars in revenue annually which in turn, could cause approximately 13 health centers to be closed and approximately 52 full-time employees to lose their jobs."

But Pratt said that those expected losses were just "predictions."

"At this point, Planned Parenthood's harm resembles a gradual deterioration rather than in an immediate, irreparable harm, which is required for temporary injunctive relief," she added.

The new law bars the use of Medicaid funds to pay for Planned Parenthood Services. But Roger Evans, chief litigator for the organization, told the Huffington Post that that makes the law unconstitutional.

"The very essence of something being a constitutional right is that the states cannot punish you for doing it," Evans said. "The problem here is that Indiana is penalizing Planned Parenthood for providing women with access to abortion services-an obviously constitutional realm of conduct."

Pratt said that Planned Parenthood would use money from its Women's Health Fund in the interim, and the state provider announced that it had received donations from around the country to support its services but said that was a "temporary fix."

"We are deeply disappointed that the judge decided not to stop this unconscionable law from impacting Hoosiers [Indian residents] seeking preventive, reproductive health care," Planned Parenthood Indiana President and CEO Betty Cockrum said in a statement. "The ruling means that Hoosiers who rely on federal funding have lost access to their crucial and lifesaving preventive health care at Planned Parenthood of Indiana."

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