Photo: Barbara Krawcowicz (Flickr)
As expected, Indiana has asked a Chicago-based appeals court to reinstate the new state law cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued a restraining order Friday to block the law‘s ban on state funds to organizations which perform abortions. Attorney General Greg Zoeller argues the law doesn‘t belong in Pratt‘s court in the first place.
“It really goes back to this process that the federal government established to bring an expedited case through an administrative process and then to the Seventh Circuit, skipping the district court,” he said.
Zoeller says the case is really an argument between the state and federal governments, and Planned Parenthood has put itself in the middle too soon.
“The Medicaid program is a joint program paid for by both state and federal dollars. The Seventh Circuit in Chicago is who is designed to hear those arguments during the administrative process,” Zoeller said.
The state is appealing a Department of Health and Human Services ruling that the law violates Medicaid regulations. Zoeller says if HHS sticks to its ruling, the next step is an appeal to Chicago‘s Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals anyway. The state has argued Planned Parenthood could solve the funding dilemma by creating a spinoff entity to perform abortions, and leave its family-planning services as a separate organization. Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum responds there‘s no assurance the state would accept that arrangement, nor that the legislature wouldn‘t invalidate it when it returns next year.