Planned Parenthood to close health centers for day

2011-06-20T17:00:00Z 2011-07-01T03:30:58Z Planned Parenthood to close health centers for dayBy Dan Carden and Kathleen Quilligan Times Staff Writers

All Northwest Indiana Planned Parenthood of Indiana clinics will be closed for the day Wednesday, the agency said in a statement.

The agency, which provides family planning services to women, faced the loss of Medicaid funding after Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a bill tightening abortion restrictions in the state.

In a statement released Monday, the agency said it has been funding services to Medicaid patients through donations, but the donations ran out. The organization would be unable to provide services for those patients because U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt has yet to rule in the agency's favor on a request for a temporary preliminary injunction.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana serves about 9,300 Medicaid patients each year out of a total 85,000 patients.

The statement said all health centers operated by Planned Parenthood of Indiana, with one exception in Indianapolis, will close Wednesday for the staff to take a furlough day. That Indianapolis center will be closed Thursday. Also, two Disease Intervention Specialists will be laid off in Muncie beginning Tuesday. 

The one-day furlough is expected to save enough money to keep operating until July 1.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana President and CEO Betty Cockrum said tough decisions were forced when the state on Friday was granted an additional week to respond to a brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in favor of an injunction.

If there isn't a ruling by July 1, eight health centers will close, including East Chicago and Michigan City, and about 30 staff members will lose their jobs, Cockrum said in a news conference Monday. She said the new clinics will offer different services and operate under new hours to take advantage of the remaining staff.

"You hear about smaller government, you hear about less intrusive government and it's impossible to look at this particular bill and not see that it is bigger government and certainly it makes an intrusion into people's private health decisions and their doctor-patient relationships," Cockrum said. "What kind of politician thinks it makes sense to make it harder to get birth control if in fact what you're trying to do -- and this is an objective we all share -- is to reduce the incidents of abortion and you do that by reducing the incidents of unintended pregnancy. You sure don't do that by reducing access to birth control." 


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