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Indiana files appellate brief in Planned Parenthood case

August 2, 2011

The Office of the Indiana Attorney General filed its appellate brief Monday asking the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift a preliminary injunction against parts of the new abortion-provider law cutting public Planned Parenthood funding.

In the 55-page brief, Attorney General Greg Zoeller asks the appellate court to reverse the June 24 injunction issued by U.S. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in the Southern District of Indiana. Her order barred Indiana from cutting Medicaid funds to the organization because it provides abortions despite those services being funded separately from the taxpayer money it receives.

Zoeller says federal Medicaid officials, not the courts, should determine the law's legality and the administrative review process should be followed.

“The federal government reimburses States whose Medicaid plans conform to the Medicaid Act and may refuse to issue grants to States with non-compliant plans. But a non-compliant plan, while perhaps ineligible for federal reimbursement, does not ‘violate’ any federal law, let alone violate federal rights,” the brief says. ”Establishing a non-compliant plan is akin to lowering the drinking age to 18 and risking a diminished share of federal highway funds.”

Overall, the brief makes several arguments, including the federalist argument that the Medicaid Act expressly gives states authority to establish provider qualifications and that the federal law doesn’t impose legal duties or rights on those states and providers. The Contract Clause also permits states to alter the terms of their welfare and regulatory programs, the attorney general argues.

A hearing on the Medicaid appeal is scheduled for Sept. 13 in the Chicago-based appellate court.
 

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