Heart of the River hosts Protest Paddle


A committee voted 7-3 in the Indiana House of Representatives today, in favor of a bill that would strip all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, as well as any other organization that provides abortions.

House Bill 1205, which now moves to the full House for a vote, is as unequivocal as it is sweeping: If passed, the bill would "(Prohibit) state agencies from entering contracts with or making grants to any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed." The federal funds, known as Title 10 funding, are distributed by the state. The bill would not dump those funds, but would redistribute them.

Critics note the bill would strip all funding from groups that provide a host of services to economically disadvantaged citizens, including birth control, reproductive health (Pap tests, etc.) and STD testing.

As Planned Parenthood of Indiana has asserted, none of that funding currently goes toward funding abortions.

“This bill would cut off health care to 22,000 low-income women and men who depend on it from a provider they trust," PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum testified at the Statehouse. "It makes no sense. It defies logic.”

The group also estimated that the bill could cost the state $68 million in extra Medicaid expenses "because many women would have reduced access to contraceptives and unintended pregnancy rates would likely go up."

Rep. Matt Ubelhor (R-Bloomfield), who authored the bill, told NUVO that was a misrepresentation.

"I'm not taking money away from any women's reproductive health services," he said. "I want every penny to still get to women's health."

Ubelhor noted that there were a number of providers that receive Title 10 funding that "do specifically women's reproductive health." County health centers also provide such services, he said.

For that reason, he argued that the bill would not cost the state money, as PPIN asserts.

PPIN is planning an overnight rally at the Statehouse in protest of HB 1205, from Tuesday, March 8 at 11:00 pm to March 9 at 2:00 am. See the event page on Facebook for more details.

A House committee also passed HB 1210, which provides that "a physician must inform the pregnant woman that the fetus might feel pain," and "requires a pregnant woman seeking an abortion to view fetal ultrasound imaging unless the pregnant woman states in writing that the pregnant woman does not want to view the fetal ultrasound imaging."

A spokesman for Rep. Eric Turner (R-Marion) confirmed that a last-minute amendment to the bill would also prohibit abortions after after 20 weeks into fertilization, unless it would save the life or health of the pregnant woman. Current law sets the limit at 23 weeks.