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Elections & Politics

Victory for Women’s Health: Low-Income Women’s Access to Planned Parenthood Health Centers in Indiana Protected

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 07.30.13

State of Indiana Agrees to End Case; Planned Parenthood Action Fund Demonstrates Blocking Women’s Access to Health Care Won’t Be Tolerated by the Courts or the Voters

Indianapolis, IN — After two years of litigation, the State of Indiana has agreed to permanently end its efforts to block women in Indiana’s Medicaid program from continuing to access preventive health care services at Planned Parenthood health centers. 

It is clear efforts to cut women off from Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services won’t pass muster in the courts, or with the public.  In recent years, federal courts have repeatedly rejected efforts by state politicians to block women’s access to Planned Parenthood health centers and polling consistently shows the majority of Americans oppose these efforts. 

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund 

“This is not only a victory for Planned Parenthood’s patients in Indiana, it is a victory for the nearly three million people who turn to Planned Parenthood health centers each year across the country.  Planned Parenthood is reimbursed by the government to provide health care just like every other medical provider.  Politicians in all 50 states should take note:  blocking Planned Parenthood from funding to provide preventive health care is both unlawful, and deeply unpopular.

“Over and over again, courts have said that states cannot block people from getting preventive health care at Planned Parenthood, and the vast majority of the American public agrees.  All women, no matter where they live, should be able to get quality, affordable health care from the health care provider they know and trust.

“The record number of attacks on women’s health in states like Indiana, North Carolina, Texas and beyond has created a whole new generation of activists who are ready to hold their elected officials accountable.  To harness that energy, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund has launched a new ‘in it for the long run’ initiative to mobilize people across the country to fight this type of legislation and commit to defeating politicians who oppose women’s health and support leaders who stand with women. This is just the beginning.”

Background

State-level efforts in Arizona, Indiana, North Carolina, Kansas, and Tennessee to cut off women’s access to Planned Parenthood health centers and preventive health services have been blocked in the courts, protecting access to preventive health services including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, well-woman exams and STD prevention for thousands of people.

A month after then-Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a 2011 law barring women enrolled in Indiana’s Medicaid program from accessing preventive health services at Planned Parenthood health centers, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued a temporary injunction stopping it from taking effect.  Last October, a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that injunction. The Indiana attorney general's office petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review of the Seventh Circuit’s decision in February, but on May 28, the Supreme Court declined to review it.

One in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.

  • Planned Parenthood health centers see two million patients for birth control, conduct 640,000 breast exams, and provide nearly 4.5 million STI tests/treatments annually.
  • More than 90 percent of the services Planned Parenthood health centers provide are preventive (cancer screenings, STI tests, birth control, etc.)
  • Federal funds cannot be used for abortion services at Planned Parenthood health centers.  Since 1976, Congress has barred federal funding for abortion under the Medicaid program through the Hyde Amendment. The only exceptions are in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the woman. 

In response to the attacks in states like Indiana and beyond, the Action Fund pledges to hold politicians accountable for efforts to restrict women’s access to health care, and work to elect leaders who will stand up for women.

  • Already, over 57,000 people – from all 50 states – have signed onto the Action Fund’s “In it for the long run” petition that say's “the fight to defend women's health and rights isn't over, and we're in it for the long run.”

A majority of Americans recognize the fundamental role that Planned Parenthood preventive health care services play in keeping women healthy.  Recent polling research shows support for federal funding for Planned Parenthood was a key factor in support for President Obama in the November 2012 election. 

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.