Judge grants Planned Parenthood injunction against Indiana defunding law
After having to temporarily close its doors to thousands of patients, Planned Parenthood of Indiana can now reopen to Medicaid beneficiaries. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood this past week over Indiana’s new law aimed at defunding the chain of women’s clinics. However, “unintended consequences” from the law have already put women’s health at risk in the state.
According to The Indianapolis Star, Pratt “ruled that the defunding law violates federal Medicaid rules and ‘will exact a devastating financial toll on PPIN and hinder its ability to continue serving patients’ general health needs.’”
Two federal agencies had previously reached out to Pratt to rule in favor of Planned Parenthood for that very reason. Both the Justice Department and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services told Indiana officials that their plan “will improperly bar Medicaid beneficiaries from receiving services.”
Pratt also put a fetal-pain provision in the bill “on hold.” The provision requires “doctors to tell patients seeking abortions that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks or less.” However, she temporarily upheld a provision “requiring doctors to tell patients that life begins at fertilization.”
The Star also reports:
The injunction means the defunding and fetal pain measures cannot be enforced while she is hearing Planned Parenthood’s legal challenge to the law.
The injunction only places a temporary hold on enforcement of the parts of the law challenged by Planned Parenthood. Both the state and Planned Parenthood will make legal arguments before Pratt about whether parts of the law should be thrown out or allowed to stand.
According to reporting by the Fond Du Lac Reporter, the lack of public testimony from those in the medical community when Indiana’s law was making its way through the legislature has already caused “unintended consequences.”
For the past several weeks, hospitals have stopped offering patients the option of terminating pregnancies. This includes “cases where the woman’s health was at serious risk and where there was no possibility the fetus would survive.”
Controversial wording added to the bill towards the end of the legislative process, coupled with the absence of input from doctors and medical professionals, has put women’s health at risk in state, says the Reporter:
Elizabeth Ferries-Rowe, chief of obstetrics and gynecology for Wishard Memorial Hospital, said in a letter that the legislature and [Gov. Mitch] Daniels had “tied the hands of physicians attempting to provide medically appropriate, evidence-based care in the setting of routine obstetrics and gynecology” in “a politically motivated move to de-fund Planned Parenthood.”
Ferries-Rowe, who described herself as a Catholic, said Wishard continued treating women in mortal danger, such as those suffering from ectopic pregnancies — when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.
But she said she would be unable to terminate the pregnancy of a woman whose amniotic membranes had ruptured at 16 weeks with complete loss of fluid. Under those circumstances, Ferries-Rowe said in an interview, the baby likely would be born so early that it wouldn’t survive, and a woman who chose not to terminate the pregnancy would run the risk of sepsis, which can cause permanent organ damage, loss of limbs, brain damage or death.
She said no IU School of Medicine doctor was able to give a patient the option of abortion even in the case of congenital fetal anomaly incompatible with life — in other words, zero chance of survival.
A spokesman for the Indiana’s attorney general’s office told the Star that the state will likely “seek a review of Pratt’s ruling by the federal appeals court in Chicago.”