Appeals court rules Indiana can't cut funding over abortions

ACLU, Planned Parenthood's positions upheld

INDIANAPOLIS - A federal appeals court has ruled Indiana can't end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood over abortions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction of a law that would have denied Medicaid funding to health care providers that offered abortions, even if the money does not support abortion services. The ruling means more than 9,000 Hoosiers, mostly low income, won't see a lapse in service.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the ruling is under review.

"Although the injunction concerning Medicaid funding was not lifted, we note that the 7th Circuit found the State has the legal authority to decide how federal block-grant dollars -- which are tax dollars -- will be distributed," he said in a statement. "We will review this opinion more thoroughly with our clients before deciding how best to continue to defend the Indiana law."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana called the law an attempt by politicians to punish organizations for providing legal abortion services.

"At a time when Hoosiers are struggling, it's shameful that our elected officials are spending their time, and our tax dollars, on cutting basic health care services -- such as preventing unintended pregnancies -- and restricting basic rights, rather than focusing on what we need most in Indiana: jobs for our hard-working neighbors and access to high-quality, affordable health care," said Betty Cockrum, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana president and CEO.

Meanwhile, Indiana Right to Life is urging the state to appeal the ruling.

"Today's ruling means that unelected judges are forcing Indiana to subsidize our state's largest abortion business -- Planned Parenthood -- through Medicaid funding in spite of the clear intent of the Indiana Legislature," said Sue Swayze, the group's legislative director. "This is a loss for every taxpayer in Indiana."

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