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7th Circuit affirms block on Planned Parenthood defunding

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An injunction against an Indiana law that blocks state Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood has been upheld by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Inc., et al. v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, et al., 11-2464, the court affirmed the decision by U.S. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, who granted a preliminary injunction against enforcing I.C. 5-22-17-5.5(b) that bars providing state or federal funds to “any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.”

Immediately after the defunding law was enacted in 2011, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and several plaintiffs filed this lawsuit seeking to block the law’s implementation. The law prohibits abortion providers from receiving any state-administered funds, even if the money is earmarked for other services.

The appellate court held that Medicaid grants individual rights enforceable under U.S.C. Section 1983. The ruling was less clear with regard to the law’s efforts to prevent federal block-grant dollars from being provided to Planned Parenthood. The court held that the District Court likely erred in ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood on that issue, finding the block-grant program does not create actionable rights under U.S.C. Section 1983.

Judge Richard Cudahy joined the majority in other aspects but dissented on that point, writing, “I believe the issue of unconstitutional conditions should be remanded to the district court for development of the record with respect to any possible imposition of a burden on access to abortions.”

Writing for the majority, Judge Diane S. Sykes wrote, “Planned Parenthood is likely to succeed on (the Medicaid Act) claim. Although Indiana has broad authority to exclude unqualified providers from its Medicaid program, the state does not have plenary authority to exclude a class of providers for any reason — more particularly, for a reason unrelated to provider qualifications.

“The defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, violating its patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement that the 49-page decision was being reviewed to determine how best to proceed with defending the statute.

“The people’s elected representatives in the Legislature decided they did not want an indirect subsidy of abortion services such as payroll and overhead to be paid with taxpayer’s dollars and so crafted this law. Although the injunction concerning Medicaid funding was not lifted, we note that the 7th Circuit found the state has the legal authority to decide how federal block-grant dollars – which are tax dollars – will be distributed.”

The case goes back to Walton Pratt for modification of the injunction.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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