Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Feds Threaten Poor in Indiana Over Abortion Law

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The Obama administration is threatening to cut off federal support for Medicaid recipients in Indiana if the state continues to implement a new law ending some tax subsidies for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood, various news outlets reported.

Because one element of Indiana’s new law blocks certain Medicaid funds from being spent at abortion providers, federal officials claimed “impermissible restrictions” were being imposed on the “freedom” of recipients to choose their health care providers. And since Medicaid is partly funded by American taxpayers, the Obama administration purports to have 90 days to “review” Indiana‘s decision to yank most state subsidies for abortionists.

Administration officials cited by the New York Times “made it clear” that they would not “approve” Indiana’s new law. So, the first step will almost certainly be threats to withhold Medicaid funding from the state. The bullying is expected to begin soon since the law is already being implemented. If the federal threats don’t succeed, Indiana’s poor might very well have problems getting government-funded health care.

“Medicaid does not allow states to stop beneficiaries from getting care they need — like cancer screenings and preventive care — because their provider offers certain other services,” the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a White House-approved statement. “We are reviewing this particular situation and situations in other states.”

Of course, nobody would be prevented from getting care under the Indiana law. Medicaid recipients would simply no longer to be able to spend tax money on services provided by abortionists.

“So, this is the question: Is [Planned Parenthood] so important to Obama that he and his [Health and Human Services] Secretary are willing to materially hurt poor people by cutting off Medicaid funding to try and leverage restored funding for PP?” wondered Wesley Smith of the Institute on Religion and Public Life. “Maybe so, but after a lot of threat and bluster, I doubt it. That would be too blatant a show of true colors and … would hurt the very people the administration purports to champion.”

Even under Indiana’s law, American taxpayers would still be paying for people’s contraception if the administration doesn't stop sending money — just not generally through abortion providers. Medicaid recipients who frequent Planned Parenthood, for example, would simply have to either choose a new provider or pay out of pocket.

“Non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women’s health, will remain readily available,” explained Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (pictured above), who announced over the weekend that he would not be running for president.

And despite the hysteria, the Indiana law does not even halt all Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in the state. A “family planning” block grant of about $1.5 million will still be provided to the organization.

But Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion chain in America, is throwing a fit. Its Indiana branch immediately filed a lawsuit against the state with help from the American Civil Liberties Union. On May 11, however, a federal judge refused to grant an emergency order temporarily blocking the law.

“We are deeply disappointed that the judge decided not to stop this unconscionable law from impacting Hoosiers seeking preventive, reproductive health care,” Indiana Planned Parenthood boss Betty Cockrum claimed in statement.

Pro-life leaders, however, celebrated the ruling. "This isn't about health care services," said legislative director Sue Swayze with Indiana Right to Life. "This is about abortion."

Another hearing on the law is scheduled for June 6. If the measure stands, it could cost the Indiana abortion chain up to $2 million in yearly revenue, forcing it to shut down about a dozen clinics.

But lawmakers in Indiana have blasted the abortion group’s misleading allegations about the effects of the law. "The case made by Planned Parenthood is nothing more than a false alarm and their claims that women will go without health services are false," said state Sen. Scott Schneider in a statement. "Our new law will allow Planned Parenthood to continue to receive taxpayer funding if they simply stop performing abortions. The decision is now theirs to make."

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are also worried that if Indiana is able to stop the flow of tax dollars, other states will follow suit. And indeed, more than a few are already working on similar measures. Pro-life lawmakers across America are pushing related efforts, too.

In April, Congressional Republicans waged a half-hearted campaign to stop forcing taxpayers to fund the abortion chain and its pro-abortion lobbying wing. But after Obama threatened to shut down the government, tax funding for Planned Parenthood and its various lobbying efforts was spared.

“It’s morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to subsidize the largest abortion provider in America,” charged U.S. Representative Mike Pence of Indiana.

But nevertheless, hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars continue to be unconstitutionally showered on Planned Parenthood - an organization which commits almost 350,000 abortions per year and spends millions of dollars electing pro-abortion politicians. The Indiana law would stop some state subsidies while preventing the government from contracting with abortionists.

More than half of Americans consider themselves pro-life. And a Gallup poll released on May 23 revealed that more than 60 percent of Americans believe abortion should either never be legal or only legal in a few limited circumstances. The study did not show what percentage of people thought taxpayers should fund abortion providers.

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