Planned Parenthood Files Cross-Petition for Certiorari in Indiana Medicaid Funding Case

Planned Parenthood of Indiana (Planned Parenthood) has asked to broaden the scope of any Supreme Court review of the Indiana law that bars it from any state contracts. As we reported recently, the Indiana Department of Social Services has petitioned the Supreme Court to review the ruling of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals invalidating the state statute.

The State Statute

Indiana Code sec. 5-22-17-5.5 provides that no state agency may make a contract with or award a grant of state or federal funds to any entity that operates a facility where abortions are performed. The statute does not apply to hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. Planned Parenthood was a provider of family planning and other services under the state’s Medicaid program; it also received federal funding through the state to provide disease intervention services under a separate program. Although the state expended its own money for Medicaid, the funding for disease intervention came entirely from the federal government. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the statute as applied to its receipt of funds under both the Medicaid and the disease intervention program.

The Previous Court Rulings

The district court ruled that the Indiana law was invalid as to both the Medicaid contracts and the funding under the disease intervention program. The state law specifically violated Soc. Sec. Act sec. 1902(a)(23), which guarantees Medicaid beneficiaries free choice among qualified providers. The court held that the state did not have authority to exclude providers from Medicaid participation for reasons unrelated either to their professional competence or to the prevention of fraud or abuse. As to the disease intervention program, the court ruled that the state did not have authority to impose additional qualifications for receipt of federal funds. It entered a preliminary injunction against discontinuing Planned Parenthood’s funding without needing to address the claim that the state law imposed an unconstitutional condition on the receipt of federal funds.

The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding concerning the states’ ability to deny Medicaid participation to qualified providers. However, it reversed the injunction as to the disease intervention program because Congress had not imposed any specific obligations on the state other than to spend the money on programs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. The court also rejected Planned Parenthood’s argument that the state statute imposed an unconstitutional condition on the receipt of Medicaid funds because of prior rulings that the refusal to fund abortions did not interfere with a woman’s constitutional right to choose abortion. It is this argument that Planned Parenthood seeks to present to the Supreme Court if and only if it grants Indiana’s petition for review.