Americans Urge Appeals Court to Defund Planned Parenthood

by | Aug 11, 2011 | Charisma Archive

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In an effort to prevent states’ rights from being curtailed by
partisan interests, members of Congress and thousands of Americans are
speaking out on Planned Parenthood funding.

The American Center for Law and Justice is urging a
federal appeals court—on behalf of 41 members of Congress and more
than 25,000 Americans—to uphold an Indiana law prohibiting federal
funding of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

“Planned Parenthood receives more than $350 million a year in taxpayer funds. Indiana’s decision to no longer use federal money to fund the nation’s largest abortion provider is not only a constitutionally sound decision, but one we hope is implemented in other states across the country,” says Jay Sekulow, ACLJ chief counsel. “Indiana and other states have the constitutional authority to determine how they spend federal funds.”

Earlier
this year, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed House Enrolled Act 1210 into law, a measure that prohibits the distribution of
federal Medicaid funds the state receives to organizations, like Planned
Parenthood, that perform abortions.

Planned Parenthood, backed by the
Obama administration, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law. A
federal district court granted a motion for a preliminary injunction,
effectively putting the enforcement of the law on hold.

In an amicus brief
filed this week, the ACLJ asks the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court decision and uphold the law.
The ACLJ is concerned by the plaintiff’s “novel claim that abortion
providers have a constitutional right to perform abortions and receive
public funds.” The organization contends that, if accepted, this
argument would unduly restrict the policy discretion that Congress and
state and local governments have to decide how to spend public funds.

The
brief contends that: “HEA 1210 is not rendered unreasonable or
inconsistent with federal Medicaid law simply because it bolsters
Indiana’s strong interests in encouraging childbirth and ensuring that
abortions are not directly or indirectly subsidized by public funds.
Indiana may reasonably conclude that sending large sums of public funds
to abortion providers that also provide non-abortion services within the
same organization serves to indirectly subsidize abortion activities.”

The
brief also asserts that Indiana has a legal right to determine how the
Medicaid dollars entrusted to it are distributed: “Federal Medicaid
statutes and regulations give States broad discretion to craft the rules
applicable to their Medicaid programs. Congress left intact the States’
authority to determine what makes an entity qualified to provide
Medicaid services, 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(p)(1), while ensuring that Medicaid
recipients may utilize any practitioner deemed to be qualified under
State law, 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(23). Since HEA 1210 does not limit a
beneficiary’s ability to choose among providers that are deemed to be
qualified, it is consistent with federal Medicaid law.”

The ACLJ
represents 41 members of Congress including the entire Republican
delegation from Indiana in the U.S. House.

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