News and Stories: Planned Parenthood of Indiana Appalled by the Legislative Assault on Women
Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) is appalled by the legislative assault on women. Two bills were approved by the Indiana House Public Policy Committee that would severely limit women's access to care and provide them with medically-inaccurate information. Both bills would cost the State of Indiana more money, while not improving public health or policy.
House Bill 1205 would end all federal family planning and Medicaid funding to the state's largest reproductive health care provider. The measure was approved by a 7-3 vote, despite the fact that all of the federal funding Planned Parenthood receives is used for preventive health services, including Pap tests, birth control and sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing and treatment. Not a penny is used for abortions.
"This bill would cut off health care to 22,000 low-income women and men who depend on it from a provider they trust. It makes no sense. It defies logic," testified PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum.
The federal grant funds that are in jeopardy are used at eight of PPIN's health centers in northwestern and rural southern Indiana, where the need is greatest. Specifically, these centers are located in Gary, East Chicago, Michigan City, Elkhart, Bedford, Seymour, Scottsburg and New Albany. Even with the federal funding, these eight centers operate at a net loss of more than $90,000 and PPIN makes up the difference through private fundraising. The bill would also eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for patient services. Planned Parenthood estimates the bill could cost the state $68 million in additional Medicaid expenses because many women would have reduced access to contraceptives and unintended pregnancy rates would likely go up.
The committee also approved House Bill 1210, which would substantially increase the regulation of abortion in Indiana. The measure would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization except to save the life or health of the woman, but makes no exception for rape and incest. It also would put into Indiana law that "human physical life" begins with a fertilized egg and require women to be given medically-inaccurate information about abortion.
"This legislation profoundly intrudes on Hoosier women's private medical decisions," said Cockrum. "This legislation makes government bigger and more intrusive, after an election that said voters want less of it."
The measures now go to the full Indiana House for consideration.