Indiana Governor to gut Planned Parenthood funding

Head of not-for-profit organization vows to sue state for lost dollars.

April 30, 2011

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(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Planned Parenthood supporters walk to a rally in Washington, DC. in early April.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced Friday he intends to sign a bill that will cut $3 million in state funding to Planned Parenthood of Indiana, saying both he—and most Hoosiers—oppose abortion.

“I will sign HEA 1210 when it reaches my desk a week or so from now. 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,” Daniels said in a written statement. “Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions.”

Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, says the lost funds will affect everything from providing healthcare services to just keeping the doors open in some areas of the state, including three offices in Northwest Indiana.

Cockrum says about a $1million goes directly to provide services to low-income Hoosiers.
“It’s pap tests, it’s breast exams, birth control. It’s STD (sexual transmitted disease) testing and treatment,” Cockrum said. “This is just an alarming direction for public health policy in the state of Indiana.”

Cockrum says the state could also cut off funding for emergency abortions in cases of rape or incest, as well as when giving birth endangers a mother’s life.

Cockrum says, if these emergency services funding are cut off, her not-for-profit organization will head to court.

“We will immediately file for judicial review and seek an injunction. We do not intend to let our patients down,” Cockrum said.

In addition to funding cuts, HEA 1210 bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Daniels says non-abortion healthcare needs of women in the state will not be affected.
“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,” Daniels stated. “In addition, I have ordered the Family and Social Services Administration to see that Medicaid recipients receive prompt notice of nearby care options. We will take any actions necessary to ensure that vital medical care is, if anything, more widely available than before.”

Daniels’ decision does come with political overtones. He did not openly campaign for the bill’s passage through the Indiana General Assembly, and once called for a “truce” on social issues. At the time, he said lawmakers should concentrate on budget issues.

By signing the bill, he’s likely to secure additional support from conservatives who oppose abortion. Daniels is mulling a run for the Republican nomination for president.