ACLU And Planned Parenthood Challenge Indiana Law That Would End Federal Funding For Family Planning

May 11, 2011 9:53 am

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Law Jeopardizes Women’s Health Throughout The State, Groups Say

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INDIANAPOLIS– The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) challenging a law that would defund family planning programs in the state moments after it was signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels today. The law is designed to penalize health care providers that perform abortions, though they do so without federal dollars. The bill would also violate health care providers’ First Amendment rights and endanger patients by requiring providers to give misleading information about abortion.

“Family planning dollars fund preventive health services that are critical to low-income and vulnerable women and their families,” said Ken Falk, Legal Director for the ACLU of Indiana. “It is unlawful, unnecessary and cruel to deny these populations health services that they desperately need.”

The bill would prevent Medicaid patients from obtaining services at Planned Parenthood and other facilities that provide abortions, with the exception of hospitals and ambulatory care centers. But, because under federal law states must allow Medicaid patients to choose their medical providers, the state is risking all federal Medicaid dollars that it receives each year. The law would also require doctors to read from a government-mandated script that contains biased, misleading and unscientifically-founded ideas about the beginning of life.

“PPIN will continue to fight on behalf of thousands of patients at our 28 health centers around the state who count on PPIN for health care,” said PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum.

“Elected officials have no place inserting themselves into the private medical conversations between a woman and her doctor,” said Talcott Camp, Deputy Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “It is outrageous to bar access to vital medical services and force doctors to give misleading medical information.”

Lawyers on the case include Falk, Gavin M. Rose and Jan P. Mensz of the ACLU of Indiana; Roger K. Evans of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and Camp of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

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