On Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed HEA 1210 , which denies Planned Parenthood of Indiana any government money. Because it’s illegal to discriminate against specific organizations, Indiana will also lose millions of dollars of general family planning money. And today U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt refused to grant PP a restraining order that would halt implementation of the law.
Planned Parenthood serves women and men who have no other health care options, either because they don’t have insurance or don’t have money. It provides birth control, Pap smears, vasectomies, STI testing and cancer screenings. And yes, at some clinics it provides abortions, but it does not receive funding for it, and abortion accounts for only 6 percent of PP’s services in Indiana and 3 percent nationally. And although Daniels and other conservatives claim there are medical providers who can fill the void left by PP, that’s not true. If it wasn’t true in the Dallas metro area, it’s not going to be true in rural Indiana, especially since all federal family planning money has been cut off.
Once again, Republicans (and now judges) put politics above women’s health care. They don’t care about their constituents for whom Planned Parenthood is the only affordable option. They don’t care that providing women with free, easily accessible birth control reduces abortions. They don’t care that regular family planning improves not only women’s lives, but whole communities. They are determined that all women of child-bearing age live in fear of becoming pregnant, and won’t have access to prenatal care even if they do want to become pregnant.
Some of the language written into HEA 1210 actually requires doctors to lie to women who seek abortions by saying life begins at fertilization and fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. Dr. Andrew P. Loehrer, Indiana director of Doctors for America, is “appalled at this legislative encroachment into the doctor-patient relationship and overtly political disregard for the economic and public health of Hoosiers.”
As state Sen. Vi Simpson wrote in the Indianapolis Star Monday, every claim that HEA 1210 proponents made about it is untrue. She said:
In his zeal to forward his own agenda, Schneider has missed the real threat to society. Lack of affordable health care and family planning will add to our costs — more children born in poverty, more women with expensive and deadly diseases, and yes, more abortions. These costs to society cannot be measured.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana is seeking help as it mounts its legal challenge against HEA 1210 and does its best to provide uninterrupted service to its patients. I think I’m going to donate in honor of Daniels and have PP send him a thank-you card.