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Gerry M. Kaye
Non Partisan & Independent
Telling It Like It Is
July 17, 2011


"Who here is really endangering women? Clearly, Planned Parenthood and the administration are willing to deny thousands of
needy men, women and children health care in order to protect the bottom lines of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers."

A majority of Americans tell pollsters they do not want taxpayer dollars to subsidize abortions.

A judge recently issued a ruling in the controversial Indiana case in which Planned Parenthood
took the state to court for attempting to get the taxpayers out of the business of abortion.

From The Wall Street Journal - 6/27/11 - By Charmaine Yoest and Denise M. Burke

The state of Indiana—and, by extension, 49 other states and the American taxpayer—is under siege from Planned Parenthood, the nation's abortion super-provider, and its allies in the Obama administration. Indiana is being threatened with the loss of federal funding for health care and being held up to scorn as having "declared war on women."

Indiana's crime? Last month it became the first state to prohibit all health-care contracts with and grants to any "entity" that performs abortions or operates a facility where abortions are performed. The law applies to state funds and to federal funds administered by the state, including money for Medicaid. Other states have been moving in the same direction.

Late Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted a preliminary injunction in a case brought by Planned Parenthood to block enforcement of the Indiana ban. In her 44-page opinion, the judge noted that "the public interest" tilted in favor of Planned Parenthood at this time because "the federal government has threatened partial or total withholding of federal Medicaid dollars to the State of Indiana." One of the nation's largest recipients of Medicaid funding, Planned Parenthood could lose a substantial amount if Indiana law prevails.

Shortly after it filed suit against the state, Planned Parenthood's friends at the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) issued a letter to Indiana and all other states. CMS said that, under the "free choice of provider" provisions in the Medicaid rules, states risk losing all federal Medicaid funding.

Who here is really endangering women? Clearly, Planned Parenthood and the administration are willing to deny thousands of
needy men, women and children health care in order to protect the bottom lines of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

The federal threat extends beyond Indiana. No doubt it also is intended to squelch the strong momentum in other states to defund Planned Parenthood and similar abortion providers. In May, Kansas redirected more than $300,000 in family-planning funding to full-service health clinics—and away from Planned Parenthood. This month, four other states acted to eliminate or limit funding to the abortion behemoth.

First, Tennessee reallocated $335,000 in federal family-planning money to the state's Metro Public Health Department, taking the funds from Planned Parenthood. In a dramatic move, North Carolina legislators overrode Gov. Bev Perdue's veto and enacted a budget that prohibits the state from entering into contracts with or providing grants to Planned Parenthood. Wisconsin legislators passed a budget removing $1 million in federal family-planning funds from Planned Parenthood. And a vote by New Hampshire's Executive Council blocked a $1.8 million family-planning contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

Without a doubt, measures to defund the abortion industry will remain a top priority for states in 2011 and will re-emerge in 2012. Legislators are responding to the majority of Americans—72% in a 2009 Quinnipiac University poll—who say that they do not want taxpayer dollars to be used to directly provide or indirectly subsidize abortions. Planned Parenthood and the administration appear committed to obstructing these efforts. Clearly, they prefer the status quo of taxpayer-funded largess for abortion providers—a bounty that amounts to $363 million annually in federal and state funds for Planned Parenthood alone.

The next test for the administration's position on Medicaid funding for abortions may come in Texas. The state's Health and Human Services Commission is moving forward with eligibility changes to the Women's Health Program (WHP), a Medicaid-waiver program that provides family planning and other care to women not otherwise eligible for Medicaid. The proposed changes would prohibit the state from contracting for Women's Health Program services with any entity that also provides elective abortions.

The situation in Texas differs from Indiana's because Texas's actions concern a Medicaid-waiver program. The CMS has opined in the past that Medicaid-waiver programs are not subject to the "free choice of provider" provisions that Washington now argues protect abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. If the feds were to include Medicaid-waiver programs, Texas could lose $150 million in federal Medicaid funding.

The administration's response to Texas's expected changes to its Women's Health Program will be very telling. Will it again, in defiance of the will of the American people, join forces with Planned Parenthood to protect the abortion industry's government funding? Or, true to its claims during last year's health-care debate, will its priority instead be access to health care for thousands of low-income Americans?

Ms. Yoest is the president and CEO, and Ms. Burke is the vice president of legal affairs, of Americans United for Life.

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