The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review a lower court decision that prevents the state of Indiana from cutting Planned Parenthood out of its Medicaid program.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) signed a bill into law in 2011 that prevents Medicaid recipients from being reimbursed for health services at Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics offer abortions. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged that law in court, and in October 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals permanently blocked it because federal law guarantees Medicaid enrollees the freedom to choose any qualified health care provider.
Indiana asked the U.S. Supreme Court in February to review the Seventh Circuit's decision, but the Supreme Court denied that request on Tuesday.
“Today’s announcement from the Supreme Court is not only a victory for Planned Parenthood’s patients in Indiana, it is a victory for the nearly three million people who turn to Planned Parenthood health centers each year across the country," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement.
“Over and over again, courts have said that states cannot block people from getting preventive health care at Planned Parenthood, and the vast majority of the American public agrees," she said. "All women, no matter where they live, should be able to get quality, affordable health care from the health care provider they know and trust.”
Some Republican state lawmakers argue that Planned Parenthood should not receive taxpayer funding because it provides abortions, although none of the public money Planned Parenthood receives through Medicaid or the Title X federal family planning program can legally be used to pay for the procedure. The Hyde Amendment prevents taxpayer money from being used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger.
Since 2011, the courts have blocked Planned Parenthood defunding laws from taking effect in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kansas, Arizona and Indiana. Planned Parenthood was denied preliminary injunctions against defunding laws in Texas and Oklahoma, however, and its contracts expired in those states on December 31, 2012. The federal government pulled all family planning funding from Texas as a result of the defunding law, and Texas is now paying about $200 million for the next five years to support its own Medicaid Women's Health Program.
Seven new states have moved to defund Planned Parenthood in their 2013 legislative sessions, but those bills have not yet been signed into law.