Planned Parenthood of Indiana won a legal battle against the state today, as U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt halted Indiana’s plans to defund the reproductive health agency. The state passed a law last month blocking any Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood on the grounds that federal law prohibits using Medicaid from funding abortions (in most cases). The law “cut off $1.4 million to Planned Parenthood, which serves about 9,300 clients in Indiana who are on the state-federal health insurance plan for low-income and disabled people who receive Medicaid,” reports the New York Times.
Judge Pratt ruled that Indiana cannot exclude Medicaid providers simply because (3% of) their services include abortions. She also ruled that Indiana cannot restrict the freedom of citizens (Medicaid recipients) to choose their own healthcare providers, which, incidentally, is a key argument conservatives made against healthcare reform.
The Indiana law had temporarily halted Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide important and potentially life-saving services, including pap smears, breast exams, and STI tests and treatment (including HIV) to low-income patients. Judge Pratt’s ruling is a great victory for Planned Parenthood against the recent tidal wave of anti-choice legislature. But the question that comes to my mind is why we have to consider it a victory that an organization that provides essential health services for three million low-income and disabled men and women annually is allowed to continue to exist.
In Florida today, supporters of Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women (NOW) rallied outside of Sen. Marco Rubio’s office to protest the 2012 budget, which calls for “cuts to Social Security benefits, cuts to Medicare/Medicaid, [and] attacks on Planned Parenthood.” Rubio has also recently drafted a bill that would make it illegal to transport a minor outside of the state to avoid Florida’s parental consent/notification for abortion laws.
Planned Parenthood is “the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare provider and advocate.” It supports both women and men. Most importantly, it supports low-income and disabled patients, as well as minors. By attacking Planned Parenthood, anti-choice legislation is harming the communities that need help the most.