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Planned Parenthood's request for restraining order denied

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Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt has denied Planned Parenthood of Indiana's request for a temporary restraining order barring the enforcement of a law signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels on Tuesday.

Planned Parenthood asked the federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order preventing the enforcement of certain provisions of House Enrolled Act 1210. The new law prohibits the state from entering into a contract or giving funds to any entity that performs abortions, and also immediately cancels any existing contracts.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the suit in the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of Planned Parenthood, two women who utilize the clinic’s non-abortion services, and two medical professionals involved in performing abortions at the clinic. The suit is Planned Parenthood of Indiana Inc., et al. v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, et al., No. 1:11-CV-630.

Planned Parenthood maintains that although it does provide abortions, no state or federal money goes toward its abortion services. It says it is the largest, if not the only, entity in Indiana that is subject to loss of funding because of the law. Planned Parenthood is a provider of family planning and related services under Medicaid and the suit alleges that the new law will restrict where Medicaid recipients can receive family planning services and preventative care.

Planned Parenthood says because of the loss of the grants, it estimates it will lose more than $1 million, will have to close 13 of its health centers, and will be forced to lay off 52 full-time employees.

The plaintiffs argue that HEA 1210 violates the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution, the Medicaid Act, the statue is preempted by federal law, and the law imposes an unconstitutional condition and is invalid.

Dr. Michael King and Carla Cleary, a certified nurse midwife, also challenge the language in the new law requiring patients to be told that human physical life begins at conception and that there is objective scientific evidence that the fetus can feel pain at or before 20 weeks. The suit contends this violates the First Amendment rights of the plaintiffs.

In addition to the temporary restraining order, the plaintiffs asked Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt to issue a preliminary and, later, permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from enforcing the challenged provisions of HEA 1210. In a statement on the organization's website, Planned Parenthood of Indiana's President and CEO Betty Cockrum said the organization is disappointed that the judge didn't stop the law. Judge Walton-Pratt set a hearing on injunction for June 6.

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