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Federal Court: Indiana Can't Defund Planned Parenthood

A federal appeals court ruled Indiana cannot cut funding for Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions

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A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Indiana cannot cut funding for Planned Parenthood simply because the organization provides abortions.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the core portion of a lower court's order that said Indiana could not enforce a state law that barred abortion providers from collecting Medicaid funds, according to the Associated Press.

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the law in May 2011, making Indiana the first state to deny Planned Parenthood funds for general health services including cancer screenings, the AP noted.

In June 2011, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued an order blocking parts of the law after Planned Parenthood challenged it, CBS News said.

Indiana appealed Pratt's order, but the appeals court upheld the portion of the order that said the state lacked the authority to exclude a medical provider which qualified for Medicaid. The court said the law violated a patient's right to obtain medical care from the provider of their choice.

Local CBS News affiliate WISH said that the Indiana ACLU and Planned Parenthood hailed the appeals court's decision.

"This law was an attempt by politicians to punish organizations that are providing legal services," said Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, according to WISH. "Elected officials should not place politics above women's health."

Betty Cockrum, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood in Indiana, said, "At a time when Hoosiers are struggling, it’s shameful that our elected officials are spending their time, and our tax dollars, on cutting basic health care services–such as preventing unintended pregnancies–and restricting basic rights, rather than focusing on what we need most in Indiana: jobs for our hard-working neighbors and access to high-quality, affordable health care," according to a press release from the ACLU.

Women's health care and reproductive rights have become major issues in the presidential campaign this year, with Democrats accusing Republicans of waging a "war on women."

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