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.

Ginsburg’s Legacy and the Future of Roe v. Wade

By Katie Franklin

The loss of a sitting Supreme Court Justice is great, and in the political climate we are currently living, that loss is all the greater.

Many are remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a “champion of gender equality” and a “leading litigator for women’s rights,” all in line with the “Notorious RBG” canonization people have bestowed on her for years.

But unfortunately, her legacy also includes the defense of one of the most dehumanizing practices women and children have ever suffered in United States history.

That practice is, of course, abortion.

In her 27 years on the Court, Ginsburg went so far as to defend partial-birth abortion twice, once in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) and again in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007). Years later in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2015) and June Medical Services LLC v. Russo (2020), she sided with the abortion industry, knocking down Texas and Louisiana laws which aimed to hold abortionists accountable to basic health and safety standards.

While many commentators and news outlets are lauding her for her fight against pregnancy discrimination, in 2018, Ginsburg sided against America’s pregnancy help centers—life-affirming outposts which aim to help women through the many hurdles of an unexpected pregnancy and new motherhood (NIFLA v. Becerra).

And yet—despite her consistent defense and advocacy for legal abortion, Ginsburg held a nuanced opinion on Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion all across the U.S. in 1973.

That decision, she argued, was far too sweeping.

By knocking down abortion restrictions in all 50 states, legalizing the practice through all nine months of pregnancy, and orienting the decision around the practice of abortion rather than equality, the Court, she said, had created a “target” for pro-lifers.

“That was my concern, that the court had given opponents of access to abortion a target to aim at relentlessly,” she told a crowd of students at the University of Chicago Law School in 2013. “… My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum that was on the side of change.”

Indeed, since it was decided in 1973, Roe has remained one of the most controversial decisions in Supreme Court history.

In the following decades, more than 60 million abortions have occurred in the U.S. Yet many states have made advances in protecting unborn babies, challenging Roe and forcing the Supreme Court to consider limits to the culture of “abortion-on-demand.”

Abortionists like Philadelphia’s Kermit Gosnell and Indiana’s Ulrich Klopfer have revealed the grisly reality of abortion. Thousands, if not millions of women, have come to regret their abortions. And abortion survivors themselves are speaking out.

Additionally, more than 2,750 pregnancy help centers have risen up to meet the needs of women, men, and children all across the country, posing a loving alternative to the heartbreak of abortion.

Ginsburg was a studied, hard-working, and accomplished woman, and her colleagues—regardless of their Constitutional interpretation—clearly respected her as a person and legal mind.

As Planned Parenthood and NARAL dig in their heels and prepare to smear the yet-unnamed Supreme Court nominee, we must remember the truth: Roe v. Wade was an extreme decision that ushered in the deaths of millions of innocent babies. And not even Ruth Bader Ginsburg—an avowed defender of legal abortion—believed it was good law.