Despite the House GOP’s failure to defund Planned Parenthood in their budget showdown with the White House back in April, the insidious goal to deny critical health care services to millions of vulnerable American women is now systematically winding its way through the states. Back in April, the most vulnerable women in the District of Columbia sadly became the casualties of the federal budget showdown when the District was banned from using “…its local taxpayer raised-funds for abortions for low-income women.” And now solely because Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, they are once again under attack in many states across the country. Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) has already been defunded with many more states looking to follow in its footsteps. Can the Obama administration risk a political fight to stop this systematic state defunding campaign with the political consequences over abortion rights inevitably pervading that fight in the 2012 election cycle?
The Obama administration has stated that under federal Medicaid law states cannot deny Medicaid beneficiaries care from any provider simply because that provider also provides abortion services. So how will Indiana, or any other state, be forced to comply with federal Medicaid law? For months now media reports on the PPIN defunding effort have stated repeatedly that if Indiana defunded PPIN they would risk losing $4 million in federal family planning funds. But will the federal government actually take such “corrective action” and withhold that Medicaid funding? The outcome of PPIN’s federal lawsuit and the potential action taken by the federal government in Indiana will set the stage for how the increasing number of states seeking to defund Planned Parenthood will persist in those efforts in the coming months.