Indiana is the first US state to stop public funding to Planned Parenthood for general health services after a federal judge refused to block a new abortion law. Many see this as a move to enhance Republican Governor Mitch Daniel's credentials among conservatives as he deliberates on running for president.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana had requested a temporary restraining order, this was denied by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. Planned Parenthood said the law undermined health care services for thousands of Medicaid patients.

While it is challenging the law, which was signed by the Governor last Tuesday, Planned Parenthood was seeking a continuation of public funding. The judge's decision means the funds can be halted immediately.

President of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Becky Cockrum, said:

"The decision is devastating. There's certainly a chance we will have to decide that we cannot see Medicaid patients unless they are able to somehow pay for their services themselves."

According to the District Judge, Planned Parenthood did not demonstrate that it would suffer irreparable harm if the temporary restraining order were not approved. Pratt also added that the state of Indiana needs more time to respond to the complaint.

A request to permanently block the new law will be heard on June 6. Pratt explained that she will rule on the issue before July 1, by which time new abortion controls included in the law will have taken effect.

Anti-abortion campaigners are thrilled, saying the new law is not about health care services, but about abortion.

In what it describes as a "temporary fix", Planned Parenthood of Indianan (PPIN) says it will pay for Medicaid patients' costs of care throughout the state at least until May 21. However, it warns that due to new financial constraints, it will not be able to take on any new Medicaid-eligible patients. Some services will also be postponed until the court has issued a ruling on the injunction PPIN is seeking.

PPIN says this temporary fix would not have been possible had it not been for the "extraordinary outpouring of support from donors across the country." If donations continue coming in at their present rate, PPIN says it will be able to extend services beyond May 21.

PPIN, in a communiqué, wrote:

"PPIN's 9,300 Medicaid patients became unplugged from health care at their preferred provider on Tuesday when Governor Mitch Daniels signed HEA 1210 into law. The law bars the state from entering into contracts with, or granting to, any entities (other than hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers) that provide abortions.

PPIN has filed for an injunction contending the law is unconstitutional and violates federal law. A hearing is scheduled on that motion on June 6 in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis."

In its web site, National Right to Life wrote:

"National Right to Life applauds U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt's decision to deny a request by Planned Parenthood of Indiana for a temporary restraining order against a new Indiana law that denies state-directed funding for businesses and organizations performing abortions in the state. Judge Pratt's order allows the funding cuts passed by the Indiana legislature and signed by Governor Mitch Daniels earlier this month to immediately take effect."

Written by Christian Nordqvist Written by Christian Nordqvist