Victory: Texas and Louisiana can cut Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood. What does that mean for Indiana?

By Katie Franklin

Last month, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Louisiana and Texas can cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood facilities. The ruling—a major win for pro-lifers in the 5th Circuit—could also have major ramifications for Indiana and the rest of the United States.

Almost a decade ago, Indiana became the first state to defund Planned Parenthood of federal Medicaid dollars. Sadly, that historic feat ended in litigation from Planned Parenthood, a loss at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012, and the Supreme Court declining to hear the case in 2013.

The story seemed to be over for Indiana’s defunding effort, but as the years passed, other pro-life states took Indiana’s strategy and ran with it. In 2015, David Daleidan’s undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood’s stomach-turning practices lit a new fire under states’ efforts to defund the entity of taxpayer dollars.

More legislation and litigation ensued, and by 2018, the Supreme Court was asked to consider whether Medicaid recipients like Planned Parenthood have a right to challenge a state’s determination of “qualified” Medicaid providers.

Again, the Court declined to take up the case.

In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, argued that the Court was shirking its responsibility. By this point, a split had arisen between circuits and, as Thomas argued, it was the Supreme Court’s duty to settle the matter.

“Five Circuits have held that Medicaid recipients have such a right, and one Circuit has held that they do not,” wrote Justice Thomas. “The last three Circuits to consider the question have themselves been divided. This question is important and recurring.”

So recurring, in fact, that this October, the Supreme Court once again declined to hear a case on the matter. (Notably, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill led 19 other states in filing an amicus brief with the Court, urging them to take up the case.)

But just six weeks later, the 5th Circuit issued its decision reversing a previous ruling preventing Texas and Louisiana from defunding Planned Parenthood of Medicaid dollars.

Now, the split Thomas described almost two years ago is deeper than it was before.

And the duty of the Supreme Court to take up this issue—raised by Indiana almost ten years ago—is all the more clear.

Since Indiana’s law was signed and struck down a decade ago, Hoosiers have been forced to channel their taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. This is despite the fact that Planned Parenthood outposts performed more than half of Indiana’s abortions in 2019, making it the largest abortion business in the state.

Indeed, in 2019, Planned Parenthood facilities performed 4,414 abortions. Since 2014, these facilities have performed more than 30,000 abortions altogether, according to the Indiana Department of Health’s Terminated Pregnancy Reports.

Planned Parenthood frequently (and misleadingly) argues that abortions make up a small percentage of their services, but these numbers are far from small. Still, even if Planned Parenthood performed a few abortions per year, the practice would remain intolerable and deserving of swift defunding.

States like Indiana should be allowed to ensure that result.

Abortion drop expected as Indiana ultrasound law goes back into effect

Indiana Right to Life anticipates a significant drop in abortions in the new year as a result of Indiana’s  18-hour ultrasound law going back in effect on January 1.  The action is the result of Indiana’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, dropping its suit against the law in August 2020.

The ultrasound law, part of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, requires that women considering abortion be provided the opportunity to view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion.

From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was previously in effect, there were 496 fewer abortions in Indiana compared to the period of July through December 2017, after the ultrasound provision was blocked by a federal judge.  During the 2017 period, abortions spiked by 13 percent.

“Indiana’s ultrasound law will save lives,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “Every woman deserves the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of her unborn baby in order to have ample opportunity to reconsider an abortion decision.”

Fichter believes the timing is right for the Indiana legislature to take additional action to ensure abortion businesses are following the intent and the letter of the ultrasound law.

“Every woman should be provided with a photo of her baby’s ultrasound that she can take with her,” says Fichter.  “In addition, a copy of her baby’s ultrasound photo should be attached to her patient files to assist state health and safety inspectors in verifying the law is being met.  Currently, neither of these actions are required by law.  These are loopholes the Indiana legislature can easily close.”

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A Special Christmas Message From Our President And CEO

Full disclosure – it’s been quite some time since I’ve watched a full episode of the evening news. It’s not that I’m uninformed.  Like tens of millions of Americans, and perhaps just like you, my mobile news feed provides far more information from sources I know and trust, meaning the days are long gone when I count on networks to filter and present their particular versions of what they think I should know.  The same can be said of printed news.  As far as I can recall, the only newspaper I purchased this year was the Thanksgiving edition, and that was for the purpose of viewing ads for Black Friday sales, which turned out to be the same sales going on since late October.  That was a quick read.

So it was of little surprise to me when, just two weeks ago, I took a step of faith and tuned in to a local news broadcast in hopes of hearing something uplifting at the end of a year which has been anything but.  Less than ten minutes later, the experiment ended and the TV was off.  Even now, when we all need encouragement, comfort, and a reason to believe there’s more to life than perpetual chaos, the bad news is what we are forced to endure.  Even at Christmas.  Even at the time of year which has traditionally been the most joyous holiday for generations of Americans.

It’s almost as if a cancel culture world is turning its sights on what it hopes will finally extinguish the greatest cultural influencer in all of human history – the Child, born of a virgin, who came to give us all the only real hope we will ever have.

There is no surprise here.  For many decades, the perception of what Christmas means has shifted in American culture.  Some attempts to change the holiday’s name have not fared terribly well, such as changing the name of a Christmas tree to a “holiday” tree.  A more effective strategy has been to let the name of the holiday stand while rebranding it as a season of romance, snowflakes, and magical moments.   Call it what you will, as long as it doesn’t point to a Messiah, to the one named Jesus.

But to the more aggressive, the time has come to drive coffin nails into the manger, once and for all.

Others have tried to do the same for over two thousand years.  All of them have failed.

Now, if Christmas were a myth, if it were no more than a fantastic tale passed down from generation to generation, with no connection to historical truth, then Christmas indeed is in danger of being scrubbed in deference to, say, a winter solstice celebration.

But the truth of Christmas is far deeper than any myth might dare claim.

Who could have dreamed that after four hundred years of prophetic silence, a young virgin would be visited by an angel announcing she would be with child?

Who could have arranged for a Roman census to be issued resulting in Joseph, Mary, and the unborn baby Jesus traveling to Bethlehem and arriving just in time for the baby to be born?

Who could have supposed that a King would exchange His throne for a feeding trough?

Who could have ordered the night sky to be filled with heavenly hosts declaring the Savior had come?

Who could have chosen lowly shepherds, instead of the rich and the powerful, to be the first to receive the good news?

Who could have imagined the Child would change the world and fulfill over 300 prophecies?

Who could have dared to believe that the One, who at birth was wrapped in swaddling cloths, would one day be wrapped in a scarlet robe, beaten, stripped, scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross?

Who could have known the entire mission of the baby born in Bethlehem, on that very first Christmas, was to pay sin’s debt in full for all who will believe in Him?

Who could have guessed the Creator of life would prove His power over death, for all eternity, by rising from the dead and leaving behind an empty tomb?

The stuff of mere myth?  Not for the apostles who physically walked with Him, knew Him, witnessed His resurrection, and gave their lives as martyrs.  No one does that for a myth.

Nor for the millions of believers throughout the centuries, up to the very hour you are reading this, who are outcast, beaten, imprisoned, and even killed for the sake of the One whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day.

Trying to cancel Christmas is nothing new.  Herod the Great, Nero, Stalin, Mao, and all tyrants like them have tried and failed, because Christmas is far greater than any of them ever comprehended.  Empires, and regimes come and go.  The truth and hope of Christmas still remains.

Can you cancel culture?  Maybe.  But you can never cancel the Truth the abides in hearts of all who believe.  You can’t cancel Christmas because you can’t cancel Jesus.

I don’t know what headlines will dominate tonight’s evening news, but I do know what a hurting world needs to hear, now more than ever:

Rejoice, for the Savior is come!

It is on this simple yet profound declaration that I place my hope this Christmas, and I sincerely hope that you do as well.

May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.

Mike Fichter
President and CEO

 

Tennessee Abortion Ruling Gives Indiana Law New Hope

By Katie Franklin

Pro-life Hoosiers have a reason to be hopeful, thanks to a recent move by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Just before Thanksgiving, the court determined that part of a Tennessee law prohibiting abortion because of the child’s sex, race, or diagnosis of Down syndrome, can take effect.

This decision is not the final ruling from the 6th Circuit, as the court still needs to review the full case, but it certainly sends a positive signal to Tennesseans that the court is weighing the law’s constitutionality seriously.

So what does this ruling have to do with Indiana, which is not in the 6th Circuit?

Indiana was, in fact, the first state to pass a law prohibiting such discriminatory abortions. In 2016, then-Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana Right to Life’s House Enrolled Act 1337, banning abortion, under civil rights code, for the sole reason of race, gender, national origin of the mother, Down syndrome or other disability.

“HEA 1337 will ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn and prohibits abortions that are based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, or disability, including Down syndrome,” Governor Pence said in a statement at the time. “Some of my most precious moments as Governor have been with families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome.”

HEA 1337 was a landmark policy that set the stage for pro-life lawmakers in other states to follow.

But predictably, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky sued the state of Indiana in an effort to take down our anti-discrimination law and protect their eugenic legacy.

Consequently, in 2018, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Indiana’s law as unconstitutional. The state of Indiana appealed that decision to the Supreme Court and last spring, the Court delivered another disappointment when it declined to hear the case.

However, the Court left a door open. As Justice Clarence Thomas explained, a split in circuit decisions is required for the Supreme Court to weigh in. So far, only one circuit has ruled on a law like ours. Another circuit court would have to rule favorably regarding a similar law for the Supreme Court to settle the matter.

He also explained that prohibiting eugenic abortions presents an issue of “first impression” since the Court has not ruled on a state’s right to restrict eugenic abortions before.

“The Court’s decision to allow further percolation should not be interpreted as agreement with the decisions below,” Thomas added. “Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement.”

As Thomas Messner, a Senior Fellow in Legal Policy at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, explained at the time, the Court’s decision not to hear the case was the second-best outcome pro-lifers could have asked for. By leaving the door open for other states to continue passing prenatal anti-discrimination laws, the Court has left open for itself the opportunity to rule on the issue somewhere down the line.

Indeed, over the last four years, other states have attempted similar pro-life protections for highly vulnerable unborn babies. Ohio passed a law prohibiting abortion for the reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis, and Tennessee passed one that mirrored Indiana’s other protections, as well.

Both are working their way through the 6th Circuit, and the recent decision regarding the Tennessee law gives hope for split circuits and the chance for the Supreme Court to revisit the issue originally posed by Indiana.

 

 

AG Curtis Hill resolves case involving misleading claims by abortion clinic

BREAKING: The Office of Attorney General Curtis Hill released this statement earlier today: 

Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today he has resolved a case involving a Florida-based company that falsely claimed it operated abortion clinics in Indiana.

Orlando Women’s Center and its owner, Dr. James Pendergraft, operate multiple Florida abortion clinics. On their website, Orlando Women’s Center made multiple misleading posts asserting the company operates abortion clinic locations in various Indiana cities. These actions, Attorney General Hill alleged, constitute violations of the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

“Contrary to their claims,” Attorney General Hill said, “Orlando Women’s Center does not operate any abortion clinics in Indiana. Further, this company has never obtained any abortion clinic licenses in Indiana. Abortion providers must always be held accountable when they attempt to twist the truth in the process of selling their services to consumers.”

This month, Orlando Women’s Center entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with the Office of the Attorney General requiring the company to immediately cease all advertising that references Indiana abortion clinic locations purportedly operated by the center.

The AVC also permanently prohibits the center and Dr. Pendergraft from claiming an affiliation with any Indiana abortion clinics unless they actually have such an affiliation.

Under Indiana law, any freestanding entity that provides abortion procedures must be licensed by the Indiana State Department of Health.  As part of the licensing process, the Indiana State Department of Health continually monitors the quality of health care provided by the clinic.

The Consumer Protection Division of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office investigates and enforces multiple laws, including the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, which protect Indiana consumers. Individuals subjected to deceptive advertisements may file consumer complaints at in.gov/attorneygeneral/ or call the Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-382-5516.

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Sen. Mike Braun issues pro-life update for the 116th Congress

INDIANAPOLIS – The Office of Senator Mike Braun has issued a detailed pro-life update for the 116th congress, providing a wealth of information on legislation and other activities in the U.S. Senate.

In the preface to the report, Sen. Braun writes:

“As a father and grandfather, the right to life is fundamental to me. During my first two years in the
United States Senate, I have voted in a way that best represents and honors my values and the values
of Hoosiers by supporting legislation which recognizes that life begins at conception. Not only have I
voted in a way that reflects our values, but I have emphatically pushed for change by supporting and
introducing legislation, speaking on the Senate floor, and calling on my Senate colleagues to defend the
defenseless. I know safeguarding life at every stage is a solemn responsibility. I am honored that Hoosiers have entrusted me to represent their values in Washington, D.C..”

Download the full report from Senator Mike Braun

 

AG candidate Weinzapfel backed by Indiana’s largest abortion business

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life today is alerting voters that Indiana’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, has endorsed Jonathan Weinzapfel, the Democratic candidate for attorney general.  Planned Parenthood currently operates abortion clinics in Merrillville, Lafayette, Indianapolis, and Bloomington.

“It is remarkable that a business suing the state of Indiana over multiple pro-life laws is endorsing Weinzapfel to be the top attorney representing Indiana in the courts,” states Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life.  “We can only conclude that Weinzapfel would not defend Indiana’s pro-life laws in the courts, nor would he recognize the rights of unborn children in any way.”

“Planned Parenthood makes millions every year from killing unborn children in our state, and now they want Weinzapfel as attorney general to ensure that its business continues,” says Fichter.  “The attorney general’s job is to defend Indiana law, not to do the bidding of the multimillion dollar abortion industry.”

Weinzapfel is challenging Republican Todd Rokita who has been endorsed by the Indiana Right to Life PAC.

 

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Please vote and pray

By Mike Fichter

Not too many years ago, just after purchasing a new home, my wife and I engaged in the typical pre move-in ritual of cleaning the empty home before moving all of our stuff in.  Much to my surprise, in a dim nook beneath the basement stairs, I found a small jar of sand with a screw-on lid and tiny little label authenticating it as sand taken from Omaha Beach.

For those who know history, Omaha Beach was one of the landing areas of the Normandy Invasion in World War II.  American troops suffered a reported 4,700 casualties at Omaha Beach.  Company A of the 116th Regiment, U.S. 29th Infantry Division, suffered a heartbreaking 96% casualty rate. The men at Omaha Beach knew the stakes were high, and many knew they would never live to see the result of their efforts.  But they did their duty for their loved ones, their flag, and for generations yet to be born.  It was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany.

And here I was in a dark under-the-stairs storage room holding a jar of that sacred spot in my hands.  It all gets me to thinking how much has been sacrificed for America to remain America, and just how easy it is to forget.

On November 3, we’re not just voting for who fills what seat at the Statehouse or in Congress.

We’re not voting as a signal to which attack ads are the most effective.

We’re not voting for what’s cool, or trending, or popular.

We’re not voting to appease the parties or the Hollywood elite.

God forbid that we vote for how much money we get out of the deal.

No, we’re voting for who we are as a people.

We’re voting to decide whether we still care about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We’re voting to decide if the same socialism we’ve fought wars to defeat will now become our ruling philosophy.

We’re voting to decide if history, sacrifice and honor are merely forgotten bywords of a time now passed.

We’re voting for the soul of America.

And we’re voting for those who never made it back from Omaha Beach.

Please vote—and pray — on November 3.

Indiana Right to Life launches #PledgeToVote campaign

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life today launched its #PledgeToVote campaign urging supporters to contact at least five pro-life family members and friends and urge them to vote.

The centerpiece of the campaign is an online pledge where supporters can add their names and show their readiness to take action.

“We are urging our supporters to go the extra mile in helping to turn out a huge pro-life vote this year,” states Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “It’s easy to just sit back and watch Fox News and CNN, or to listen to the political pundits. But none of that will have the impact of friends and family making personal connections.  Our goal is to produce a pro-life landslide in Indiana.”

Fichter notes that the pro-life community is energized and that he is confident the #PledgeToVote campaign will give Hoosiers a meaningful and motivating form of engagement all the way through the November 3 elections.

“Unborn children have no voice,” says Fichter.  “Our votes must be a voice for them.”

 

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Indiana Right to Life PAC Announces Endorsements In 2020 General Elections

Indianapolis –Indiana Right to Life PAC today announced its endorsement of these candidates in the 2020 general elections:

Download the list here

Donald Trump President
Eric Holcomb Governor
Todd Rokita Attorney General
Jackie Walorski U.S. Rep. Second District
Jim Banks U.S. Rep. Third District
Jim Baird U.S. Rep. Fourth District
Victoria Spartz U.S. Rep., Fifth District
Greg Pence U.S. Rep. Sixth District
Larry D. Bucshon U.S. Rep. Eighth District
Trey Hollingsworth U.S. Rep., Ninth District
Ed Soliday State Representative, District 004
Dale DeVon State Representative, District 005
Jake Teshka State Representative, District 007
Tom Wichlinski State Representative, District 012
Hal Slager State Representative, District 015
Jack Jordan State Representative, District 017
Craig Snow State Representative, District 018
Julie Olthoff State Representative, District 019
Jim Pressel State Representative, District 020
Timothy Wesco State Representative, District 021
Ethan Manning State Representative, District 023
Donna Schaibley State Representative, District 024
Donald J. Lehe State Representative, District 025
Jeffrey Thompson State Representative, District 028
Chuck Goodrich State Representative, District 029
Mike Karickhoff State Representative, District 030
Tony Cook State Representative, District 032
J.D. Prescott State Representative, District 033
Elizabeth Rowray State Representative, District 35
Kyle Pierce State Representative, District 036
Todd Huston State Representative, District 037
Heath VanNatter State Representative, District 038
Jerry Torr State Representative, District 039
Greg Steuerwald State Representative, District 040
Beau Baird State Representative, District 044
Bruce Borders State Representative, District 045
Bob Heaton State Representative, District 046
Doug Miller State Representative, District 048
Christy Stutzman State Representative, District 049
Dan Leonard State Representative, District 050
Dennis J. Zent State Representative, District 051
Ben Smaltz State Representative, District 052
Brad Barrett State Representative, District 056
Michelle Davis State Representative, District 058
Ryan Lauer State Representative, District 059
Peggy Mayfield State Representative, District 060
Jeff Ellington State Representative, District 062
Shane M. Lindauer State Representative, District 063
Matt Hostettler State Representative, District 064
Chris May State Representative, District 065
Zach Payne State Representative, District 066
Randy Frye State Representative, District 067
Jim Lucas State Representative, District 069
Karen Engleman State Representative, District 070
Steve Davisson State Representative, District 073
Stephen R. Bartels State Representative, District 074
Cindy Ledbetter State Representative, District 075
Wendy McNamara State Representative, District 076
Greg Peete State Representative, District 077
Matthew Lehman State Representative, District 079
Martin Carbaugh State Representative, District 081
David H. Abbott State Representative, District 082
Dave Heine State Representative, District 085
Chris Jeter State Representative, District 088
Cynthia Kirchhofer State Representative, District 089
Mike Speedy State Representative, District 090
Robert Behning State Representative, District 091
Felipe Jesus Rios State Representative, District 094
Ed Charbonneau State Senator, District 05
Brian W. Buchanan State Senator, District 07
Ryan Mishler State Senator, District 09
Blake Doriot, State Senator, District 12
C. Susan Glick State Senator, District 13
Justin Busch State Senator, District 16
Stacey A Donato State Senator, District 18
Scott A. Baldwin State Senator, District 20
John Crane State Senator, District 24
Michael R. Crider State Senator, District 28
John Ruckelshaus State Senator, District 30
Aaron Freeman State Senator, District 32
R. Michael Young State Senator, District 35
Jack E. Sandlin State Senator, District 36
Rodric D. Bray State Senator, District 37
Jean Leising State Senator, District 42
Eric A. Koch State Senator, District 44

All candidates, including incumbents, are required to complete a candidate survey to be eligible for endorsement consideration.

Paid for by Indiana Right to Life PAC.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.