From AP - News Headlines -

Planned Parenthood: 7 Clinics Close if Law Stands

(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)

The legal battle to restore funding to Planned Parenthood of Indiana continued in an Indianapolis federal courtroom Monday morning.

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are seeking an injunction to restore $3 million in federal Medicaid funding.

A recently enacted Indiana law prevents money going to agencies that perform abortion, including Planned Parenthood. The law is the first of its kind in the nation, approved by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels last month. Daniels contends women in Indiana have other options in seeking medical care other than Planned Parenthood. The law also bans abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy, unless there is a substantial threat to the woman's life or health.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana says it will close seven of its 28 Indiana health centers if it doesn't get a federal injunction blocking a new state law that cuts off much of its public funding.Indiana.

Betty Cockrum, the president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis that her organization would close clinics in Bedford, Hammond, Michigan City, New Albany, Terre Haute and two in Indianapolis.

Cockrum said the seven clinics served nearly 21,000 patients last year. Planned Parenthood also would lay off 24 employees. She said $96,000 in donations to keep serving Medicaid patients will run out June 20.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the state shouldn't be locked in a court battle with Planned Parenthood.

"The state's position is that any dispute over Indiana's Medicaid provider qualifications really belong between the federal government and the state of Indiana," Zoeller said following the hearing. "My office stands ready to defend Indiana's statute in the proper forum with the proper party."

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said she will rule on Planned Parenthood's injunction request by the end of the month.

The head of the federal Medicaid program, Donald Berwick, said last week that Indiana's law is illegal and, if it is not changed, the state could face penalties.

Planned Parenthood provides general health care services to 9,300 Medicaid patients in 28 centers around the state.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics