Republican Governor Mitch Daniels released a statement Friday afternoon saying he will sign legislation stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood in Indiana, the first state to make such a move.
The statement reads:
“I will sign HEA 1210 when it reaches my desk a week or so from now. I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position. The principle involved commands the support of an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers, as reflected in greater than 2:1 bipartisan votes in both legislative chambers.
“I commissioned a careful review of access to services across the state and can confirm that all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women’s health, will remain readily available in every one of our 92 counties. In addition, I have ordered the Family and Social Services Administration to see that Medicaid recipients receive prompt notice of nearby care options. We will take any actions necessary to ensure that vital medical care is, if anything, more widely available than before.
“Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions.”
Once he signs the bill, it will go into effect immediately, and would bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any public dollars — including Medicaid payments, which are crucial to the group’s patient population.
“We do around 500 pap tests a week,” Indiana Planned Parenthood President Betty Cockrum told TPM in an interview earlier on Friday. “We will be making phone calls to Medicaid patients all over the state and telling them, either you have to pay for that pap test out of pocket, or you need to find someone else who can take you as a Medicaid patient. We can’t do it anymore.”
There are 28 Planned Parenthood centers in the state. Almost 60 percent of patients seen last year were living under the poverty line.
The announcement was met shock by Planned Parenthood in Indiana, who had earlier expressed confidence that Daniels would weigh the bill’s consequences carefully before signing.
“The signing of HB 1210 into law is unconscionable and unspeakable. We will now suffer the consequences of lawmakers who have no regard for fact-based decision making and sound public health policy,” said Cockrum in a statement.
“As many as 22,000 low-income Hoosiers will lose their medical home. Countless patients will find themselves without access to lifesaving tests to avoid the tragic outcomes of cervical and breast cancer and epidemic sexually transmitted disease here in Indiana.”
She said Planned Parenthood would be filing an injunction immediately to try to halt “this alarming erosion of public health policy” in Indiana.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, also issued a statement in response to the news.
“Gov. Mitch Daniels has put his presidential ambitions above thousands of Hoosier women, who, as a result of his actions, will lose access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health care. Daniels now will distinguish himself as a governor who defunded Planned Parenthood. He will also open the door to further political interference in women’s personal, private decisions. With the stroke of a pen, Daniels will declare his truce on social issues to be over.”