Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal from Indiana in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals involving that state's attempt to defund Planned Parenthood from use of federal Medicaid funds on the theory of "indirectly subsidizing" abortions (state and federal law bans use of these funds for abortions).
The Indiana law is nearly identical to the Arizona law that seeks to defund Planned Parenthood on the same specious grounds, which is on appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Arizona Republic reports today, Supreme Court declines to hear abortion case:
In a decision that may have implications for Arizona, the
Supreme Court refused to consider Indiana’s appeal of a lower-court decision
striking down its denial of Medicaid funds to health-care providers that
perform abortions. The law was challenged by Planned Parenthood.
A similar Arizona abortion law is on hold pending appeal
to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A hearing in that case is
scheduled for June 12.
* * *
The Indiana law aimed to deny Planned Parenthood funds
from the joint federal-state Medicaid health program for the poor that
are used for general health services, including cancer screening.
While federal and state laws block the use of government
funds to perform most abortions, the Indiana ban went further by denying
Medicaid funds for other purposes, as well. In order to receive
Medicaid funds, providers would have to create separate entities for
their abortion services. Hospitals were excluded from the law.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled
that the ban on Medicaid funds was unwarranted because it was not
related to Planned Parenthood’s ability to perform medical services. But
it upheld a ban on federal block-grant funds. The high court will let
both rulings stand.
The justices did not comment in rejecting Indiana’s appeal.
* * *
Planned Parenthood, which operates 28 Indiana health
centers serving about 9,000 people annually, contended its abortions are
financed with private funds. By denying Medicaid funding, it said, the
state threatened other services, ranging from cancer screening to
testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood
Arizona, said the Supreme Court’s rejection of Indiana’s appeal bolsters
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake’s February ruling to put Arizona House
Bill 2800 on hold. And it further shows that the abortion debate has no
business in current negotiations over Medicaid expansion in Arizona.
“I hope what this does is enable state lawmakers to stay
focused on what this has been about since the get-go and not get
sidetracked by these policy issues that don’t have anything do with
health care for the poor,” Howard said.
In a related matter, another lawsuit was filed today. Arizona is sued over its ban on abortions based on sex, race:
Civil rights groups are suing Arizona to block a 2011 law that bans
abortions based on the race or sex of the child and makes it a felony to
knowingly provide a sex- or race-based abortion.
Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona filed the
federal lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of two civil rights groups. They say
the law unconstitutionally singles out Asian and black women based on
stereotypes and the sponsors’ beliefs that Asian and black women may
choose an abortion because of race or the baby’s sex.
The suit seeks an injunction blocking the law.