High court decides not to hear state’s appeal on Planned Parenthood law

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The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear Indiana’s appeal of a federal appeals court ruling that favored Planned Parenthood.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state overstepped its bounds with a law targeting Planned Parenthood. The law was intended to strip Medicaid money away from the organization and was part of an effort to keep taxpayer money out of the hands of organizations that provide abortion services.

The law, House Enrolled Act 1210, was passed in 2011. It sparked a long legal battle that pitted the state against the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.

Women’s health advocates praised the decision.

“This has been a long fight, but one that has been worthwhile because we’ve been fighting on behalf of our patients and their access to lifesaving, preventive care such as Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control and STD testing and treatment,” said Betty Cockrum, Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s president and CEO. “While the state has been trying to score political points and wasting taxpayer dollars, we’ve been standing up for the Hoosiers who count on us every day. We look forward to the day the preliminary injunction in this case becomes permanent.”

Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter expressed disappointment with high court’s decision not to hear the case.

“Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the state’s largest abortion business. Even if Planned Parenthood is instructed to use tax dollars for non-abortion activities, they then are free to use other funds for growing their abortion business,” Fichter said. “The Supreme Court’s decision to not hear this case is also a defeat for all states that wish to pass laws regarding funds in their own states.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller defended the state’s law, saying this was a dispute between the state and federal government, not one between the state and a private medical provider.

“We defended the legal authority of the people’s elected representatives in the Indiana Legislature to make a public policy decision to ensure that tax dollars not indirectly subsidize abortion services by funding the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion providers who also offer Medicaid-covered services,” Zoeller wrote.

Zoeller said he would explore any other remaining legal avenues.