Legal decision upholds ban on abortion law

July 10, 2012 at 7:31 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS, July 10 (UPI) -- An administrative law judge has upheld the federal government's rejection of an Indiana law that would withhold Medicaid funding for abortion providers.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ruled last year the state law was in violation of federal law. The state filed an administration appeal, saying it simply intended to block Medicaid money from going toward abortions, CNN reported.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana, which is currently challenging the state law in court, hailed Hearing Officer Benjamin Cohen's decision to uphold the CMS rejection.

"We are gratified by the federal government's decision and thrilled that [Planned Parenthood of Indiana] continues to be able to provide preventive health care to our patients," Betty Cockrum, president and chief executive officer of PPIN said Monday in a statement. "Through its appeal, the state was continuing its attack on women's rights and attempting to restrict access to basic, lifesaving services such as Pap tests, breast exams, [sexually-transmitted disease] testing and treatment, and birth control."

CNN said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued a statement saying Indiana "appreciated the opportunity to try to explain to CMS the Indiana Legislature's public policy decision that private providers ought not indirectly subsidize abortion procedures through Medicaid dollars."

The hearing officer said the law violated a federal requirement that individuals must have the liberty to obtain care from any qualified provider, and recommended CMS administrators uphold their original ruling.

The Indiana attorney general's office appeal to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is pending.

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