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Indiana governor signs Planned Parenthood funding ban

The measure, which bars the group's branch in the state from receiving any federal funding, is seen as Republican Mitch Daniels' effort to woo antiabortion voters. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the ACLU go to court to challenge it.

May 11, 2011|By Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican considering a run for president, signed legislation Tuesday to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding in his state, a move widely seen as a bid to woo influential social conservatives.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the American Civil Liberties Union went to court to try to block the measure from taking effect.

Federal law already prohibits using federal money, including Medicaid dollars, for abortion. But Planned Parenthood, which provides numerous other services such as cancer screenings and family planning, can receive Medicaid money for non-abortion-related services.

Abortions make up less than 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides, the group says. But Republicans in Congress and elsewhere argue that any federal funding for Planned Parenthood indirectly supports abortion.

And last month, Indiana lawmakers moved to make the state the first to explicitly bar federal funding for "any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed." Other states are poised to follow suit.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana operates 28 clinics, including four that perform abortions. Betty Cockrum, the group's president, has said that federal funding provides about 20% of its annual budget.

Daniels, a fiscal conservative who once called on the GOP to avoid divisive social issues, had already announced that he would sign the bill.

"Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions," he said.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman said Daniels would not comment further.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, denounced the governor's stance.

"Clearly, Gov. Daniels, who has called for a truce on social issues, would rather play politics with women's health than show leadership and fiscal responsibility by rejecting a bill that will ultimately cost the state millions in federal funding," she said.

The Obama administration declined to comment.

noam.levey@latimes.com

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