Mitch Daniels’ Social ‘Truce’ Faces Test Over Planned Parenthood Vote

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ (R) “truce” on social issues is now facing its first real test.

Indiana is set to become the first state to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, unless Daniels vetoes the bill sent to him Thursday by the Indiana State Legislature.

The bill would bar the state from entering a contract with any entity that performs abortions (excluding hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers). Planned Parenthood, which operates 28 centers in the state, would lose all public dollars.It’s a tough line to walk for Daniels, who, as a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, needs to prove his conservative chops. He’s faced heated criticism on the right for calling for a “truce” on social issues and suggesting lawmakers focus on fiscal matters instead.

Daniels, who is firmly anti-abortion, has a week to act on the bill.

Planned Parenthood Of Indiana has said the bill could cost the state $4 million in Medicaid federal family funds. The bill would run afoul of federal law, which prohibits states from picking which providers may offer family planning services to Medicaid patients. According to Planned Parenthood, by violating that law, Indiana may risk losing all federal funds for family planning providers.

The bill would also ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In a statement on its website, Planned Parenthood called the bill “one of the worst pieces of public health legislation in Indiana’s history,” urged supporters to contact Daniels and request he veto the legislation. “Now it is up to the Governor and we hope, against all odds, he will do the right thing and veto this very bad bill,” said President and CEO Betty Cockrum.

On the federal level, Planned Parenthood just survived a massive assault, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) during the 2011 budget negotiations. A measure to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding was ultimately defeated.

The Kansas legislature is also considering a measure similar to Indiana’s.