INDIANAPOLIS | Declaring it a "moral imperative," the Republican-controlled Indiana Senate voted 36-13 Monday to prohibit the state from contracting with any entity, such as Planned Parenthood, that provides abortion services.
"Hoosier taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize an organization that performs abortions or supports abortion, period," said state Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, the sponsor of the amendment to House Bill 1210.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana receives about $3.1 million a year in federal grants that are administered by state government. In 2010, it also received $31,200 in state funds. None of that money is used for abortions as federal and state law prohibits use of government funds for abortions.
According to Planned Parenthood, the funds provide some 85,000 low-income Hoosiers birth control, tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, Pap tests and breast exams at 28 health centers including sites in Gary, East Chicago and Michigan City.
"If they want to reduce the number of abortions, it makes no sense to make birth control harder to get for thousands of Hoosiers who rely on Planned Parenthood of Indiana for their preventive health care," said Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana.
"It is unfortunate that anti-choice zealots are comfortable misrepresenting the truth about this funding and how it is used."
The state funding ban does not apply to hospitals that provide abortions, which state Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, said shows Republicans are just trying to beat up on Planned Parenthood.
A similar effort by Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood failed earlier this month.
The amended legislation will receive a Senate vote this week. Lawmakers in the House also must agree to the change.