Peter J. Smith

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Obama Administration threatens Indiana over defunding Planned Parenthood

Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Obama administration is not happy with Indiana for being the first state to defund Planned Parenthood. According to reports, the administration is considering taking away the state’s Medicaid money in retaliation.

Pro-life Gov. Mitch Daniels recently signed into law a measure that bars state agencies from entering into contracts with abortion providers, aside from hospitals. The law also bans abortion past 20 weeks gestation, with an exception for the life or physical health of the mother.

The law effectively cuts Planned Parenthood off from approximately $3 million in state family planning funds, unless the state organization divides into separate independent affiliates that have nothing to do financially with abortion-providing affiliates.

The New York Times reports that federal officials are considering withholding some or all of the state’s Medicaid money in order to pressure the state to allow the nation’s largest abortion provider to tap into family planning funds.

The Times reports that the administration has 90 days to take action.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement approved by the White House: “Federal law prohibits federal Medicaid dollars from being spent on abortion services. Medicaid does not allow states to stop beneficiaries from getting care they need — like cancer screenings and preventive care — because their provider offers certain other services. We are reviewing this particular situation and situations in other states.”

Marcus J. Barlow, representing the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, pointed out to the Times, however, that the state was not cutting off funds for family planning services. “It’s a change in providers,” he explained, observing that clients of Planned Parenthood could go to other non-abortion providing clinics for those services.

Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith posed the question on his blog: “Is PP so important to Obama that he and his HHS Secretary are willing to materially hurt poor people by cutting off Medicaid funding to try and leverage restored funding for PP?”

“So long as those services are available, what business is it to the Feds which facilities provide them? Or, are we to believe that PP has a right to receive public money?” he said.

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