Judge Won't Block Planned Parenthood Defunding

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt Denies Temporary Restraining Order

The Health and Human Services Department said Wednesday afternoon that Indiana's Medicaid plan, which bans funding to Planned Parenthood, is illegal and must be changed.

In a letter sent to Indiana's Medicaid director, Medicaid Administrator Donald M. Berwick said Indiana's plan will improperly bar Medicaid beneficiaries from receiving services. Berwick writes that federal law requires Medicaid beneficiaries to be able to obtain services from any provider qualified to provide services.

The notification comes after Indiana passed a law banning federal funding to Planned Parenthood and as other states consider similar bans. Indiana can change its plan to conform with federal law, or the state could face penalties.

"It is incredibly gratifying to have the federal government confirm what we've been saying all along," said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, in a statement. "It is right that the federal government take action against Indiana and set an example for other states seeking to adopt this type of harmful legislation."

Last month, a federal judge denied Planned Parenthood's request to block defunding. A hearing had been set for next week on a temporary injunction request.