Judge ends Indiana-Planned Parenthood battle

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A judge has issued a permanent injunction ending Indiana's two-year legal fight to deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in Indianapolis issued the order Tuesday barring the state from preventing Medicaid enrollees from accessing health care at clinics operated by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

Planned Parenthood, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, had argued that a 2011 state law should be blocked because it probably was in conflict with a federal Medicaid statute that protects patients' rights to make their own decisions about health care providers.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Indiana's appeal in the case in May.

Indiana Planned Parenthood President Betty Cockrum says she's "pleased to finally put this issue to rest."

Zoeller defends case

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller defending the state's two-year legal battle to deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood for general medical services.

Zoeller says "it was important and necessary to defend the policy decision of the people's elected representatives in the Legislature that Medicaid dollars should not indirectly subsidize the payroll and overhead expenses of abortion providers."

He says that if legal challenges to similar statutes in other states eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court, Indiana would have another opportunity through an amicus brief to assert that argument.

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