A new Indiana law limiting access to abortion has survived its first challenge. The measure cuts off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood and, theoretically, other abortion providers, although the state's hospitals and walk-in surgical centers are exempted. A federal judge rejected a request from Planned Parenthood for a temporary restraining order to prevent the law from being enforced during the appeal process. The law, signed Tuesday by Gov. Mitch Daniels — a possible Republican presidential candidate — makes Indiana the first state to strip family planning clinics of federal funding. But will a law that singles out Planned Parenthood survive in court?
It shouldn't. It's unconstitutional: This is worse than the typical "backwards pro-life law," says Lauren Bruce at Feministe. The Hyde Amendment already prohibits using Medicaid to pay for abortions. So Indiana is effectively just making it harder for low-income women to get prenatal care, birth control, and other services, simply because Planned Parenthood provides abortions — a very small part of the health services they offer.
"Mitch Daniels defunds Planned Parenthood of Indiana, and why you should care"
Hey, Medicaid patients will still get the care they need: This new law isn't depriving anyone of services, says Donna Golob, director of A Positive Approach to Teen Health, as quoted by The Christian Science Monitor. It merely steers money away from Planned Parenthood and toward clinics that are "providing women more of a total health package." Planned Parenthood might not like a law that benefits organizations that put a premium on helping women have babies instead of aborting them, but that's obviously not enough to sway a judge.
"Indiana ruling signals tough legal fight for Planned Parenthood"
This is all about Mitch Daniels cozying up to the Right: Let's call this "dumb" law what it really is, says Nicole Fabian-Weber at The Stir. It's just part of the Right's "personal vendetta" against Planned Parenthood. The law will allegedly affect everyone, but the way it's written, "it winds up only affecting Planned Parenthood, even though abortion accounts for just 3 percent of what it does. That might help the socially moderate Daniels get social conservatives behind his campaign, but that's hardly justification for denying women the "health care they deserve."
"Indiana governor won't let you get an abortion"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 5 tricks to making a mind-blowing burger
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- Why America is duty bound to help Iraqi Christians
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
Subscribe to the Week