On Tuesday, May 10th, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana signed a bill containing numerous pro-life provisions. A survey of the headlines for most news stories about the bill, however, would lead one to conclude that the legislation’s sole purpose is to bankrupt Planned Parenthood. In reality, the first section of the bill ensures that tax dollars in the Hoosier state do not bankroll any participant in the abortion industry—not just the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Section 1 of Indiana House Bill 1210 prohibits any agency of the state from contracting with or making grants (state funds or state-administered federal funds) to entities that perform abortions or maintain or operate facilities where abortions are performed. No particular abortion provider is named in the legislation. In fact, if an abortion provider decides that providing actual health care—pap tests, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and prenatal care, for example—is more important than their profitable abortion business, they can stop performing abortions and restore their public funding.
As we have already seen, abortion providers are not likely to make this life-affirming change anytime soon. Instead, Planned Parenthood promptly challenged the constitutionality of Indiana’s new law in U.S. District Court. While the court has not rendered a final decision in the case, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, appointed by President Obama, refused to grant the temporary restraining order requested by the abortion giant.
While the media are portraying efforts to cut off abortion subsidization as novel, many states have laws that restrict or prohibit abortion funding, subsidization, and insurance coverage. At least 19 states restrict some form of insurance coverage of abortion—in private plans, for public employees, and/or through the new health care Exchanges. At least 9 states restrict the use of public facilities for abortions, at least 4 have some type of restriction on grants to abortion providers, and at least 16 limit grants to organizations that counsel in favor of or refer for abortions. In fact, at least 6 states have enacted laws this year that may impact the abortion industry’s pocketbook.
During the 2010 federal healthcare debate, Americans began asking more probing questions about public funding for abortions and abortion coverage. The answers to these questions shocked many, and have driven Indiana and other states to protect their citizens from inadvertently or unwillingly paying for abortions and abortion coverage. Similarly, revelations about the nefarious activities of abortion providers have propelled efforts to cut them off from the federal trough altogether.
Indiana is unquestionably a leader in protecting its citizens from participating in abortions through their pocketbooks. It will be exciting to see other states follow suit.
 The bill exempts hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers licensed under IC 16-21-2.