Indiana Finally Agrees Planned Parenthood Medicaid Ban Is Unenforceable (UPDATED)

Attorneys for the State of Indiana have finally agreed to stop trying to lift a temporary injunction blocking a law designed to defund Planned Parenthood.

If a budget is not adopted by July 1, the government will shut down. Gavel via Shutterstock

UPDATE, July 30, 4:45 p.m.: Shortly after attorneys representing the State of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky announced a settlement in the two-year legal battle over efforts to defund the health-care provider, a federal judge entered a permanent injunction, permanently halting the state’s efforts to prevent Medicaid enrollees from accessing health care at Planned Parenthood.

Attorneys for the State of Indiana and Planned Parenthood have reached an agreement in the legal dispute over the state’s attempt to defund the health-care provider.

The law, passed in 2011, bars Medicaid patients from obtaining preventative health-care services at any Planned Parenthood and would have defunded family planning programs across the state. It was the first in a wave of anti-choice attempts nationwide to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal money—because some locations provide abortion services—by cutting off all Medicaid funds. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, Planned Parenthood of Indiana, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America challenged the law shortly after passage, and a federal court issued a temporary injunction stopping it from taking effect. The State of Indiana appealed, and a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction. In May, the Supreme Court declined to take up the challenge, effectively bringing an end to Indiana’s attempts to have the law enforced short of a trial on its merits.

According to reports, the parties agree that the defunding provision can’t preclude Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements, and the state agrees it is permanently enjoined from enforcing the statute to deny Medicaid funding and reimbursement to Planned Parenthood of Indiana. This means that the State of Indiana won’t try to undo the courts’ decision through a trial on the merits of Planned Parenthood’s claim that the law is unconstitutional.

The result is a win for those in Indiana who rely on Medicaid and Planned Parenthood for affordable, accessible health-care services, but it came at the expense of thousands of dollars in legal fees and time spent fighting over a law that was clearly unconstitutional from the start.

Since 2011, Planned Parenthood has won legal battles against defunding its services in Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. So while the agreement will put an end to this legal battle over funding Planned Parenthood, there’s no reason to believe conservatives plan to give up this campaign anytime soon. Now it’s a question of what those efforts look like next.