Mitch Daniels will sign bill blocking federal funding of Planned Parenthood in Indiana

at 05:52 PM ET, 04/29/2011


Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ decision on defunding Planned Parenthood is in the spotlight. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings - AP PHOTO/DARRON CUMMINGS)
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), a potential presidential candidate, announced Friday he plans to sign legislation that would prevent Planned Parenthood in the state from receiving Medicaid funds. When he does, Indiana will be the first state to take that step.

“I will sign HEA 1210 when it reaches my desk a week or so from now,” Daniels said. “I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position.”

There was some speculation over Daniels’ decision, because he has called for a “truce” on social issues in the 2012 presidential campaign, and because he has been open to family planning groups (though not abortion) in his time as governor of Indiana. Activists on both sides of the issue lobbied him heavily.

“Mitch Daniels knows there is no truce on doing what is right.” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List in a statement after the announcement.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana gets $3 million a year in government funds. The bill that Daniels intends to sign would block the organization from receiving the federal funds distributed by the states.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana is planning to sue over the legislation. “We will be filing an injunction immediately to try to halt this alarming erosion of public health policy in our state,” said the organization’s president, Betty Cockrum, in a statement.

Federal law prohibits states from deciding which organizations receive Medicaid funding for any reason other than quality of care. The state could lose $4 million in federal family planning funds as a result.

Daniels’ decision could be seen as a sign of his intention to run in a Republican presidential primary where he will have to work to win the trust of social conservatives. However, some close to the governor say that outside of 2012 considerations, Daniels cares about his legacy as an anti-abortion leader and wants to protect that reputation.

“Gov. Mitch Daniels has put his presidential ambitions above thousands of Hoosier women, who, as a result of his actions, will lose access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health care,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America’s president Nancy Keenan in a statement. “With the stroke of a pen, Daniels will declare his truce on social issues to be over.”

In his statement, Daniels said women’s health care will remain easily available in the state after the law takes effect. Roughly half of all births in Indiana are covered by Medicaid.

“I commissioned a careful review of access to services across the state and can confirm that all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women’s health, will remain readily available in every one of our 92 counties,” he said in his statement. “In addition, I have ordered the Family and Social Services Administration to see that Medicaid recipients receive prompt notice of nearby care options.”

 
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