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PPIN receives state funds for tax exemptions


By Kelsey Holder




Planned Parenthood of Indiana, currently bogged down by legal woes and threats of funding cuts, received a sliver of good news in late July.

Neighborhood Assistance Program awarded PPIN $6,000 for the 2011-12 fiscal year, PPIN President and CEO Betty Cockrum said.

“This is a great motivator for donors,” Cockrum said. “They can receive half their gift back in tax credits.”

The funding is the largest PPIN has received in its three-year relationship with NAP,
Cockrum said.

On May 10, 2011,  Gov. Mitch Daniels signed HEA 1210, a law cutting Medicaid funds from all organizations that perform abortions.

The law would prevent the almost 1 million Indiana Medicaid patients from receiving PPIN Pap tests, STD testing and treatment, and birth control. The law would have also prevented NAP from awarding the $6,000 to PPIN.  

The new funding was announced Aug. 1, the same day Indiana filed an appeal in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the current injunction preventing the state from denying Medicaid patients access to PPIN services.

“I don’t think they understand what Planned Parenthood really does,” Cockrum said. “They need to understand the importance of birth control and sex education. This is terrible federal health.”

The law required doctors to tell patients life begins at fertilization and a fetus can feel pain at or before 20 weeks.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union said this violates the First Amendment by forcing doctors to state false or irrelevant information.

“They were shockingly cavalier,” Cockrum said. “There are no issues of fetal pain. They didn’t talk to any doctors. The failure to do homework is alarming.”

Had the courts not interfered with the law going into effect, Indiana would have had the tightest abortion restrictions in the United States.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Pratt deemed the law unconstitutional when PPIN challenged it hours after Gov. Daniels signed the bill into law.

PPIN ran on private donations until June 24, when the injunction allowed PPIN to continue to receive government funding to operate.

“The fundamental issue is that when we take tax dollars and fund any entity that performs abortions, we’re forcing taxpayers to support a practice that many feel is objectionable,” Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, said in an interview with the Huffington Post.

Because of the recent NAP donation, PPIN is optimistic to receive donations from citizens and organizations, which receives 50 percent of their gifts back in tax credits, according to NAP.

Planned Parenthood offers birth control pills, NuvaRing, Implanon and condoms at below-market rates for citizens. It also teaches sex education and conducts regular reproductive checkups.

The new law, if allowed to take effect,  would cut $2 million of PPIN’s $15 million annual funding.

“Federal courts get it,” she said. “We need everyone to understand that national culture, society and the economy have a huge cost for every unwanted pregnancy.”
Although no court decision will be made until at least 2012, Cockrum said, PPIN received a great surprise with the $6,000 NAP award.  

“This money will go into our general budget for services and educational programs,” Cockrum said. “This will hopefully boost donations.”

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