$4.3 billion: That's how much Indiana stands to lose if it pushes ahead with a new law refusing to allow state Medicaid funds to go to Planned Parenthood for women's health services. We suppose blatantly breaking the law is one way to "cut costs," although of course it'd be on the backs of the poor in the name of "life."
State authorities were in court today defending the law against claims by Planned Parenthood that Indiana is violating federal Medicaid law. A judge will rule in July on a request for an injunction against the law. The federal administrator of Medicaid has also warned Indiana that it's in violation of the law.
"I think this is an instance in which a state is really trying to overturn national policy and in so doing is likely to forego federal funding," an expert on federal state issues told the AP.
But this is not about limiting women's choices! After all, back in April, Republican legislators offered the following alternatives:
The list provided by House Republicans and on their website includes health service providers that have nothing to do with women's reproductive health, sexual health or family planning. They include a Salvation Army addiction center, a homeless shelter, several mental health centers, a juvenile detention center and the Indiana Women's Prison."
As Dahlia Lithwick responds of the state senator who drafted the bill, "Maybe on his planet, if women can't get a pap smear at the Salvation Army, she didn't need one anyhow. In any event, there's always Walgreens."
In practical terms, this is a game of chicken; as in the showdown over the federal Planned Parenthood defunding, it hinges on how much Republicans are willing to risk to punish the organization for also providing legal abortions. If the Obama administration makes good on its right to strip Indiana of all medicaid funding, who will be blamed? Anti-choicers like this blogger at the National Catholic Register, see this as a perfect opportunity to depict Obama as a scary black man with a gun, with the headline "Obama: Kill Babies or I'll Hurt the Poor." Of course, this is only about abortion if you think that it's okay for the state to try and bully health providers out of providing a legal service paid for by private money. That's the actual act of aggression.
Abortion Showdown Could Cost Indiana $4.3 Billion [AP]
Planned Parenthood Tests Indiana Defunding [UPI]
Mitch Daniels, Culture Warrior [Slate]
Related: Obama: Kill Babies Or I'll Hurt The Poor [NC Register]
Family Planning Clinics Rare On GOP Map [Journal Gazette]
Earlier: The New Wave Of "Abortion" Funding Battles