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How Indiana’s Planned Parenthood Will Cope With Defunding

In the past few months, three states have enacted new laws to strip their Planned Parenthod clinics of funding. State and federal funds never paid for abortions because they are prohibited to do so by federal law. Alas, conservative politicians in Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina want to punish Planeed Parenthoods for providing abortions at all.

What are the consequences of this low-down, dirty, anti-women move? Employees lose their jobs and other services get cut. The Indianpolis Star checked in with the Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana and the $1.3 million in budget cuts — about 1/10th of its budget — are depressing.Indiana Planned Parenthood is forced to respond to the Medicaid funding cut, effective today, by closing each of their clinics for the day today while employees are on furlough without pay, laying off two STD prevention specialists, and refusing to see the state’s 9,300 Medicaid patients unless they can pay out-of-pocket for their health care. Eventually, eight clinics that serve low-income patients will have to close, as well as clinics in six other cities. Roughly 85,000 people in Indiana have used services at the state’s 28 clinics.

Ugh, where to start? First point: if you are on Medicaid you are a low-income individual and likely the only way you’re getting your Pap smear (which tests for cervical cancer) is because the program will pay for it. So by yanking Medicaid funding, Indiana is punishing low-income women for being poor, plus making them more vulnerable to unintended pregnancies, which makes no sense. (Abortions are funded out-of-pocket or with private donations.)

Second point: so two STD prevention specialists are losing their jobs? So much for job creation, Republicans!

This direct assault on women’s health cannot be tolerated. And that’s what this crap is: a direct assault on women’s health. Planned Parenthood does not just provide abortions; the clinics offer much, much more than that. Planned Parenthood tests for and diagnoses STDs. Planned Parenthood gives pelvic exams, which include pap smears on the cervix which can find wonky cells and diagnose cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood distributes the morning-after pill, which can prevent someone whose condom broke or who was raped from getting pregnant. Planned Parenthood prescribes all sorts of birth control, from injectables like Depo Provera to implants like the IUD to oral contraceptives like the Pill. Planned Parenthood gives referrals for the proper help if someone has depression, an eating disorder, an abusive partner or family member, or is questioning their sexuality. And it does all of this without judgment or a religious/political agenda.

There is hope for the women, men and families of Indiana, though: a federal judge heard an injuction (a court challenge) on the new law yesterday and will rule on it by July 1. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief last week siding with Planned Parenthood, the Star reports, which is a positive sign.

[Indianapolis Star]
[Terre Haute Tribune Star]

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