On Friday Governor Mitch Daniels issued a statement putting to rest the speculation over whether he might sign House Bill 1210. I expect that his strong words may have shocked Planned Parenthood, which had spent thousands of dollars in radio advertisements urging people to call the governor's office to urge him to veto the legislation.
The Governor didn't merely say that he would sign the bill. He made a point of addressing the scare tactic that claimed the Schneider Amendment to the bill would prevent poor women from receiving non-abortion services through Medicaid funding. Here is what the Governor said:
"I will sign HEA 1210 when it reaches my desk a week or so from now. I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position. The principle involved commands the support of an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers, as reflected in greater than 2:1 bipartisan votes in both legislative chambers.
"I commissioned a careful review of access to services across the state and can confirm that all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women's health, will remain readily available in every one of our 92 counties. In addition, I have ordered the Family and Social Services Administration to see that Medicaid recipients receive prompt notice of nearby care options. We will take any actions necessary to ensure that vital medical care is, if anything, more widely available than before.
"Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions."
The statement also pointed out this key fact, which counters the claim that not funding Planned Parenthood severely limits services offered to women. This law will affect 7 entities in Indiana, which have a total of 34 locations in 21 counties throughout the state. In the 21 counties where these 7 entities currently operate, there are approximately 800 Medicaid providers, which are eligible to provide Medicaid clients with health and family planning services.
(Later this afternoon the US House of Representatives is expected to vote on HR 3, the "No Funding for Abortion Act" which moves hundreds of millions of tax dollars away from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.)