A federal judge in Indiana has stopped the enforcement of a state law that strips Planned Parenthood–and any other organizations that provide abortions–of public funds.
The decision is in line with a recent opinion from the U.S. Justice Department, which contends that states cannot restrict Medicaid patients’ access to care. But while the law will be blocked, the judge agreed that further review is in order. Friday’s decision only means the law will not be enforced until a ruling is made in a suit brought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The law took effect in May, but, through donations, Planned Parenthood of Indiana was able to continue providing most medical services to its 9,300 Medicaid patients. Last Monday, the donations ran out and the organization stopped serving patients who couldn’t pay out of pocket or through private insurance plans. Further, two specialists in Muncie were laid off.
Planned Parenthood officials celebrated the decision. The organization issued a statement saying the two specialists can return to work until a final ruling in the case is made.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also sided with Planned Parenthood, and the state is appealing a rejection of its attempt to bring Medicaid regulations for Indiana in line with the law.
“We will thoroughly review the ruling but it is likely that the State of Indiana will seek an interlocutory appeal to the U.S. 7th Circuit, the same court that would ultimately review the administrative appeal of Indiana’s Medicaid plan in the dispute between the State of Indiana and the federal government,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s spokesman Bryan Corbin in a statement.
Zoeller’s office argues that the dispute between Indiana and the federal government should take precedent over any civil actions against the new law.
If Indiana loses its appeal, the state could lose $4 billion in Medicaid funding.