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Next state trying to defund Planned Parenthood: Indiana

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MahurinPointing_Thumb1_692.jpg

After the failure to defund Planned Parenthood on a federal level last week, a new trend is emerging: states attempting to strip family planning funding from entities that provide abortion services.

So far two Midwest states have taken the lead: Minnesota and Indiana.

As The Minnesota Independent previously reported, on Monday, Minnesota senators introduced Senate File 1224, which would effectively ban state family planning money from going to organizations that offer abortion services. As The Minnesota Independent notes, aside from county public health departments, most family planning funds in Minnesota are given to Planned Parenthood clinics that do not perform abortions. Thus, the added clause in the bill preventing funds from going to any clinic with “the same or a similar name” to one that provides abortion services or abortion referrals seems to target Planned Parenthood.

Also on Monday, in Indiana — home state of U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, the author of the failed congressional amendment to defund Planned Parenthood in Congress — the state Senate added several amendments to House Bill 1210. The legislation proposes a host of abortion restrictions related to fetal pain and late-term abortions. One amendment added to the bill would bar state agencies from fulfilling existing contracts and beginning new ones with entities that not only provide abortions but also those that maintain or operate a facility where abortions are performed. However, this defunding measure would not apply to state hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers.

As in Minnesota’s case, the measure does not mention Planned Parenthood by name, but according to the Indianapolis Star, the abortion provider was mentioned on the Indiana Senate floor as lawmakers debated the amendment. The Indy Star reports that Republican Sen. Scott Schneider, who introduced the amendment, told his colleagues that other health care providers in the state offer the family planning services Planned Parenthood provides, such as cancer screenings, pap smears, birth control and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

The Senate’s approved (36-13) adding the amendment to the legislation, but the vote did not come with unanimous Republican support: Sens. Vaneta Becker and Ron Alting voted with Democrats against the measure.

As the Indy Star reports:

Opponents of the de-funding measure said that cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood would leave thousands of low-income Hoosier women without birth control and other health services and would ultimately make abortions more frequent. One conservative Republican — Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville — opposed it the first time it came up for that reason.

Today Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Elletsville, asked Senators on the floor: “How many unwanted pregnancies do you think there would be if low income women could not access birth control from Planned Parenthood?”

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, pointed out that hospitals will still be able to provide abortions and receive taxpayer money, and called the measure an effort to punish Planned Parenthood.

Before it can make its way to Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels’ desk to become law, the Senate must vote on the revised bill and then the House must approve the new version with the defunding measure.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana released a statement calling the Senate decision an “abomination.”

“It is unfortunate that anti-choice zealots are comfortable misrepresenting the truth about this funding and how it is used,” said PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum. “It is unfortunate that they continue to tell untruths about PPIN.”

According to PPIN, which claims to serve approximately 85,000 Indiana patients in 28 health centers annually, the proposed legislation would effectively prevent clinics that provide abortion from accessing approximately $3 million in federal family planning and Medicaid funds — which the U.S. Senate voted not to eliminate last week. Specifically eight PPIN health centers — in the northwest and the rural south — will be in jeopardy if HB 1210 becomes law. According to PPIN, even with federal funding, the eight centers that rely on federal grant funds operate at a net loss of more than $90,000, which is made up with private fundraising.

The state Planned Parenthood branch also predicts this measure would cost the Indiana government more in the long run, projecting that the state might have to pay an additional $68 million in Medicaid expenses following the notion that reduced access to contraception could lead to more unintended pregnancies.

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