Indiana Gov. Daniels Faces Solomon-Like Decision on Family Planning Funding

The president of the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice told Governor Mitch Daniels that he is facing a Solomon-like dilemma in deciding whether to sign a bill that would remove millions in funds  from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion services.
 
She suggested he take a “Pro-Both Indiana” approach- keep the funding, expand access to family planning and lessen the need for abortion.
 
Carolyn Meagher, president of the Indiana RCRC, said in her letter to the governor:

The two mothers claiming the same baby are Indiana Right To Life and Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.  The baby represents the fetal lives at stake if HB 1210 is passed and further compromises Indiana’s already hideous contraception coverage.

The best way to prevent abortion from being used as birth control is state-of-the-art access to state-of-the-art birth control.

Governor Daniels must decide whether to sign a bill that would risk the loss of $4 million in federal grants for family planning programs under Title X. (To put that in perspective, only 31% of Indiana’s contraceptive needs are currently met). His situation is further complicated because he has indicated he may have presidential ambitions and his credentials as a “social conservative” need to be sterling.

Carolyn Meagher’s letter continued:

A state that ranks 49th nationally in prevention of unintended pregnancies should not be the first state to prevent Medicare money from being used at Planned Parenthood. It should be the 49th. This bill does not protect fetal life, protect men and women’s health or protect the taxpayer.

Governor Daniels, if you will refrain from signing HB 1210, we will lead a coalition of organizations to collaborate with you in a “Pro-Both Indiana” initiative to meet the contraceptive needs of every Indiana citizen. It would be medically accurate, faith driven but pluralistic, and short-term but sustainable. We will prove that healthy sexuality will decrease the abortion rate in Indiana and we will save fetal lives.  

According to the Women’s Health Policy Report on April 30, current law already prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion. HB 1210 would – in addition to banning specific funds – ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless a woman’s life or health is substantially threatened. Current state law permits abortion before viability. The legislation would require abortion providers to inform women in writing that human life begins when the egg is fertilized, that abortion can increase the chances of infertility and that a fetus might feel pain before 20 weeks.

Planned Parenthood received about $3 million in federal funding last year, of which about $2 million was distributed by the state. The state also receives about $1.3 million in federal funds for Medicaid family planning programs. The state Family and Social Services Administration has expressed concern that Indiana could lose all $4 million of its Medicaid family planning funding if the bill becomes law because federal law dictates that states cannot pick and choose which providers receive the funds, according to the Women’s Health Policy Report.

Daniels is not expected to comment on the bill until it arrives at his desk, and he has seven calendar days to take action before the bill becomes law without his signature.

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Filed under abortion, reproductive health, religion, insurance, women's health

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