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US Supreme Court declines to take Indiana Planned Parenthood cases

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The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday denied certiorari to two cases stemming from an Indiana law disqualifying a health care provider in participating in a government program because it provides abortion care.

The U.S. justices considered Planned Parenthood of Indiana v. Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, 12-1159; and Secretary of the Ind. FSSA v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana, 12-1039, at its conference Thursday.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in the Southern District of Indiana granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of I.C. 5-22-17-5.5(b) that bars providing state or federal funds to “any entity that performs abortions or maintains a facility where abortions are performed.” Planned Parenthood and other plaintiffs sued after the defunding law was enacted in 2011. The law prohibits abortion providers from receiving any state-administered funds, even if the money is earmarked for other services.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the injunction in October 2012.

In the case brought by Planned Parenthood, the plaintiffs wanted the Supreme Court to determine whether the law imposes an unconstitutional condition in violation of the 14th Amendment. In the suit brought by FSSA, the agency challenged the decision that Medicaid grants individual rights enforceable under U.S.C. Section 1983. The 7th Circuit ruled that the defunding law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services, thus violating its patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.

Proceedings had been stayed in the case brought by Planned Parenthood in federal court until a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are happy that the Supreme Court’s action lets stand the appeals court ruling that the state does not have plenary authority to exclude a class of providers for any reason. Federal law protects the right of Medicaid patients to choose a health care provider free of interference from the state,” ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar said in a statement. The ACLU represented the plaintiffs in the case.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller also issued a statement on the Supreme Court decision.

"My office always contended this is ultimately a dispute between the state and federal government, not between a private medical provider and the state. We defended the legal authority of the people's elected representatives in the Indiana Legislature to make a public policy decision to ensure that tax dollars not indirectly subsidize abortion services by funding the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion providers who also offer Medicaid-covered services. We respect the federal courts' rulings in this matter and will confer with our state agency clients regarding any remaining legal avenues, including the separate administrative appeal of the state's Medicaid plan,” Zoeller said.

The justices also denied certiorari to a petition brought by Michael Dean Overstreet. Overstreet was sentenced to death in 2000 for the abduction, rape and murder of Franklin College student Kelly Eckart in 1997. His convictions and sentence have been affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court, as well as a petition for post-conviction relief.

Overstreet appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the District Court’s decision to deny his petition for writ of habeas corpus regarding his sentence.
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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