HARNED: Did Court Provide Legal Path for De-Funding Planned Parenthood?

Critics of the Seventh Circuit’s decision blocking the heart of an Indiana law that sought to defund abortion providers (including Planned Parenthood) are overlooking a silver lining in the opinion. The court held—in no uncertain terms—that withholding public funds from abortion providers, regardless of whether those funds are used for abortion-related services, does not necessarily create a constitutional problem. Further, the decision provided valuable guidance to states seeking to ensure that taxpayer funds are not used to bankroll the abortion industry.

The court held that Indiana could not disqualify abortion providers from receiving traditional Medicaid funds (i.e., federal and state matching funds that cover general medical care for the poor), because they perform abortions. However, the court reached this decision based on language in the federal Medicaid statute that restricts states’ discretion to define who is “qualified” to provide Medicaid services—not the Constitution. In other words, if Congress amends the federal Medicaid statute to give states more discretion to determine who is qualified to receive Medicaid funds, states can use that discretion to cut off abortion providers. [Continue Reading…]

Originally posted at LifeNews.com