Pro-life movement continues on after Planned Parenthood funding decision

May 29, 2013

Well, chalk another one up to the federal courts.

This time it’s a not-completely-unexpected decision by the United States Supreme Court to refuse Indiana’s appeal in Planned Parenthood of Indiana v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health in which the Seventh Circuit Court ruled Indiana did not have the right to carve the state’s largest abortion business out of the Indiana Medicaid program. Indiana vigorously disagreed with the ruling and sought relief in the highest court, but hopes for that relief have been dashed.

Now the sounds of victory peal from progressive bastions across the nation while a chorus of voices, including no less than Planned Parenthood’s own Cecile Richards, praise the courts while slicing another notch across the backs of American taxpayers who dared to believe they should not be forced to pay for the killing of human beings so helpless they can’t even raise an audible cry for help.

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court of the United States

Indiana, consider yourself thoroughly chastised for daring to touch the apple of the Obama administration’s eye.

One can only imagine the high fives at Health and Human Services (HHS) or at the Department of Justice (DOJ), where maneuverings against Indiana were harsh and relentless in the wake of the defunding measure. Remember the HHS letter informing Indiana that its right to exclude Planned Parenthood from the Indiana Medicaid program was administratively denied? Remember the last-minute brief against Indiana’s law filed by the DOJ? These are actions that set the tone for the denial of appeal, sort of like shots across the bow of a state that bucked against the brave new order of things in Washington.

Now that the federal smack down is over, Planned Parenthood gets back to the business of killing, but who picks up the tab in Indiana? No one seems to be able to place a definitive dollar amount on how much taxpayer funding Planned Parenthood receives (thanks to a bookkeeping system that apparently doesn’t even attempt to differentiate between different types of income – very convenient for obfuscating money trails), but the figure routinely tossed out is somewhere between $2 and $3 million dollars per year. That money will continue to flow thanks to those federal deductions Hoosier workers watch bleeding from their paychecks each week.

But don’t expect a note of thanks from Planned Parenthood. This is entitlement as its most disturbing level.

Opponents of Indiana’s defunding law will be quick to claim that taxpayer dollars are not for abortion, but for other things found, sold or done at Planned Parenthood offices. But no one seriously believes that. The Indiana Attorney General’s office put forth a devastating analysis of a Planned Parenthood bookkeeping system in which funds appear to so easily comingle in one giant pot. Recall that Planned Parenthood was given the option of separating out its abortion business from its other operations and it refused. That refusal speaks volumes about how important Medicaid funding is to supporting the entirety of its business, including abortion.

So it’s end of the line for defunding Planned Parenthood. Or is it?

Lost in the euphoria of progressive celebrations is a distinct silver lining in the Seventh Circuit ruling allowed to stand.  Seems that even the Seventh Circuit, once extracted from the Medicaid specifics and the pressure brought to bear by the Obama administration, could not bring itself to deny Indiana the right to cull out Planned Parenthood from certain federal block grant funds left to be spent by through the autonomous discretion of the state. That’s a loss for Planned Parenthood, pure and simple.

In another silver lining so clearly articulated by Mary Harned of Americans United for Life in 7th Circuit Provides Guidance for Defunding Abortion Providers, the ruling more sharply reveals a coming federal opportunity to redefine and rework the entire Medicaid program into a system that recognizes state authority to manage its own Medicaid system apart from the federal tentacles strangling Indiana’s good faith effort to keep taxpayer dollars from funding the business of abortion. That battle will not happen until a sea of change occurs in Washington, but in a very real sense, the ruling in which Indiana has been speared creates a core impetus for overhauling the entire system.

Maybe the biggest question of all is what this does to the pro-life movement’s momentum. This is a big fight, and we lost it at the top level. Some might even say we should pack it up, take comfort in knowing that we gave it our best shot and call it a day.

That’s not going to happen.

We’ve had our shares of body blows in the past, and this one is no different. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and come right back at it again. We’re a movement toughened by challenges, accustomed to setbacks and acquainted with disappointment. But we’re also a movement that understands strategy, holds to the tenacious belief in standing for what’s right, and dedicated to rising from the knock downs time and time and time again until the life of every unborn child is protected by the law of the land.

We cannot and will not give up the fight.  After all, this isn’t about us.

Keep on, pro-life movement. We’re not done by a long shot.

– Mike Fichter

Mike Fichter is the President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life

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