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Feds Step In, Say Denial Of Planned Parenthood Funds Illegal

HHS says federal regulations specifically prohibit picking and choosing among eligible recipients.

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Photo: Barbara Krawcowicz (Flickr)

Planned Parenthood in Indiana has had all of its federal funding cut.

Indiana‘s law banning state funding for Planned Parenthood remains set for a court hearing on Monday — but the roles of the two sides have shifted. Planned Parenthood of Indiana had sued to block the law, but the Department of Health and Human Services has taken care of that issue — at least for now — with a letter denying state officials the required permission to alter Medicaid rules.

HHS says federal regulations specifically prohibit picking and choosing among eligible recipients. Indiana Senator Dan Coats says Indiana should challenge the denial in court.

“Is everything,” he asked, “going to be controlled out of Washington at the whim of the government, non elected officials in agencies, and bureaucrats, or is it going to be controlled in the states? And I think there is clearly a separation of powers argument here that needs to be addressed.”

Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum says the federal government did the right thing from both a policy and a legal standpoint.

“The medicaid program has $4 billion here in the state of Indiana,” she said, “and I think that that would arguably give them the authority to indicate how that ought to be spent.”

Indiana has until the end of next month to decide whether to appeal. A Family and Social Services Administration spokesman says the agency hasn‘t decided what to do.

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