Court Rules Indiana Can't Block Planned Parenthood Funding

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Indiana is not allowed to block Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from Medicaid, the state-administered health program for low-income residents.

The decision was made by the Chicago-based US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, who stated that the law deprives Medicaid patients of their right to get medical care from the provider of their choice, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Planned Parenthood sued to block the Indiana law soon after it was passed. The clinic performs abortions, but they also provide other services for low-income patients, like cancer screening, treatment for STDs, and prenatal care.

The US Appeals Court ruling contrasted with one made by the New Orleans-based US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, who upheld a Texas law that de-funded Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in the state.

A third case against Planned Parenthood is also unfolding in Arizona, where a court ruled last week to grant a temporary injunction against the law that would have de-funded the group, and others like it.

CBS News notes that Indiana's Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed the law in May 2011, which made the state the first to deny the organization Medicare funds for general health services. Medicaid is not allowed to be used for abortions.

In June 2011, US District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued an order that blocked parts of the law, following a challenge from the organization. The state appealed, however, sending the court battle toe the appeals court.

The appeals court stated that part of Pratt's order should be upheld, which says that Indiana doesn't have the authority to exclude a medical provider that qualifies for Medicaid. They added, however, that Pratt needs to modify other portions of her preliminary injunction.

Indiana's Planned Parenthood clinics currently serve about 9,300 clients on Medicaid.