This is a guest post by Mrs. Slammin’, regarding not only the issue of abortion, but also that of state’s rights. Whether you agree or disagree with the opinions expressed here, your comments are welcome.
Last week, Obama-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of Indiana HEA 1210, which (in part) states:
(b) An agency of the state may not:
(1) enter into a contract with; or
(2) make a grant to;
any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a
facility where abortions are performed that involves the
expenditure of state funds or federal funds administered by the
You can read the entire bill here: http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2011/PDF/HE/HE1210.1.pdf
Before the injunction, Planned Parenthood, which performs 52% of abortions in Indiana (but provides services to less than 1% of Hoosier Medicaid recipients), was set to have its Medicaid funding pulled. They argued that Medicaid patients who sought their women’s health services would be left out in the cold. Of course, this is simply not true. Just ask Planned Parenthood’s own employees…
According to the Defendants’ Supplemental Brief In Opposition To Motion For Preliminary Injunction filed by Indiana’s Attorney General in the case:
On June 1, 2011, CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick sent a letter informing FSSA that he was ‘unable to approve’ the HEA 1210 plan amendment on the grounds that ‘Medicaid programs may not exclude qualified health care providers from providing services that are funded under the program because of a provider’s scope of practice.’ Contemporaneously, CMS disseminated an ‘Informational Bulletin’ to Indiana and other states asserting with no citation to authority, that ‘Medicaid programs may not exclude qualified health care providers…from providing services under the program because they separately provide abortion services…as part of their scope of practice.’
(Note: CMS refers to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; FSSA refers to Indiana Family and Social Service Administration)
The brief later goes on to argue:
The question of what constitutes a permissible Medicaid provider qualification is not an interstitial matter entrusted to the federal government – and indeed, not even a matter that CMS has yet addressed….it is the States that have been charged by Congress with carrying out this provision of Medicaid and are therefore in the role of interpreting and carrying out Congress’s will.
The legal issue here is fairly apparent to me:
Who determines whether a provider is qualified to receive Medicaid funds?
The answer too is fairly apparent – Congress has left this determination to the states. In another brief filed in this case, directly citing Supreme Court Justice O’Connor, Attorney General Zoeller noted, “Congress has afforded States broad flexibility in tailoring the scope and coverage of their Medicaid programs.”
There’s still that little matter of the “Informational Bulletin” issued by the CMS without providing a citation for authority, which stated: “Medicaid programs may not exclude qualified health care providers…from providing services under the program because they separately provide abortion services…as part of their scope of practice“.
The states are supposed to take this as the final word on the matter – get real!
Remember when you were a kid? Did you have a little brother or sister that was always trying to boss you around? Maybe they wanted you to do something contrary to what your mom and dad said. Did you listen to them? Of course not! This is the same sort of situation here – the CMS has no actual authority in this matter.
Oh, wow, this should be an easy one for Judge Pratt! But no, here is what she says on the matter:
“Denying the injunction could pit the federal government against the State of Indiana in a high-stakes political impasse,” U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wrote in the ruling.
Ok, I’m sure this is not the first time the federal government has been pitted against the state, but in this case, it’s fairly clear Indiana is within its jurisdictional boundaries. So, Judge, just deny the injunction already!
But no. She goes on to say, “…if dogma trumps pragmatism and neither side budges, Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens could end up paying the price as the collateral damage of a partisan battle.”
Seems a little convoluted to me, so let’s head to the dictionary…
Dogma: A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true
Pragmatic: Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations
So, what does this all mean? For one, it means newly-appointed Judge Pratt doesn’t know how to do her job! If you read between the lines, she admits that Indiana has the authority to deny Medicaid funding to abortion providers (“dogma”), but that it’s not sensible to allow them to do so in this case (“pragmatism”), because of the threat by the federal government to cut off all Medicaid funds to the state. Unbelievable! Here is another word that should have been included in her ruling – EXTORTION.
The feds threw a temper tantrum, and instead of putting them in their place, like any respectable and fair-minded parent (ahem, I mean “judge”) would do, she gives them a sucker and a thumbs up!
No matter where you stand on the abortion issue, this ruling should scare the crap out of you! The fed’s actions are outright extortion. Indiana is appealing the ruling, and although I have read that Planned Parenthood is optimistic, I am even more so. This judge was incompetent, and although I could use many more colorful adjectives to describe her inability to do her job, I think I will move on.
Interestingly enough, Judge Pratt did rule that the section requiring medical professionals to tell a woman that human physical life begins at conception must be implemented. Why? Well, quite honestly, there’s no proof to the contrary. That is why the pro-abortion movement makes the focus of their argument about choice.
Quite honestly, I cannot stomach when someone tells me they are not for abortion, but they are for a woman’s right to chose. Really? Have you really thought this through? It sounds to me as if you have stopped listening to your conscience and bought into their propaganda. If you are pro-choice, then you are pro-abortion. That’s the cold, hard truth.
Furthermore, if you are high-fiving your friends, celebrating that Obama stuck it to Mitch, or that this is a “win” for women everywhere, you need to think twice about the implications of this ruling. This sets an ugly precedent, by giving a federal agency, acting on its own merits and through the use of bullying tactics, power over our elected state legislature.