The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive an Indiana law that would have blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid dollars because the organization provides abortion services.
The justices today left intact a lower court ruling that said the Indiana law violated Medicaid beneficiaries’ right to freely choose their medical provider.
Indiana is one of several states targeting Planned Parenthood in an effort to prevent even indirect subsidies of abortion. Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Florida, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Kansas and North Carolina have taken steps to limit public funding to health centers that provide abortion services.
Medicaid is the joint federal-state health care program for the poor. While federal law bars use of Medicaid funds for abortions, providers that perform abortions can receive payment from Medicaid for other types of services.
Under the federal law that governs the program, state Medicaid plans must reimburse any provider “qualified to perform the service or services required.”
Indiana contended that provision isn’t absolute, leaving states room to determine what it means to be “qualified.” Indiana’s 2011 law says state agencies can’t provide public funds to any entity that performs abortions or operates a facility where abortions take place.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana sued to challenge the measure. The organization’s 28 health centers in the state provide cancer screening, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and a variety of birth-control options. Planned Parenthood says it uses private funds for its abortion services.
A federal trial judge blocked the law, and a Chicago-based federal appeals court upheld that ruling. The Obama administration backed Planned Parenthood in the dispute.
The case is Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana, 12-1039.
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