By: Lisa Pearlstein, FellowPosted on May 12, 2011

On Tuesday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) signed into law an extreme measure that makes Indiana the first state in the nation to do what the Republican leadership in the U.S. House unsuccessfully attempted to do: defund Planned Parenthood.  The bill cuts $3 million in federal money the state distributes to Planned Parenthood annually to pay for preventive care, including birth control, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually transmitted infections. This will leave 22,000 low-income residents of Indiana who use Planned Parenthood at risk by eliminating their primary source of preventive health care and family planning services. Planned Parenthood of Indiana filed a request for a temporary restraining order, which was denied by a federal court. However, the court must still rule on whether the law should be enjoined.

This provision of the bill has gotten all of the media attention, but the rest of the bill is just as extreme. This bill makes Indiana the fifth state (joining Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma) to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill also prohibits women from using their own private money to purchase insurance coverage of abortion through any exchange that will be established pursuant to the health care law. This is a terrible blow for the women of Indiana who will lose benefits they currently have. Women in Indiana will now have to pay higher out-of-pocket costs for an abortion because they are prohibited from using insurance to pay for it.  Since women in the state already earn less (on average) than men and have more trouble affording health care, this law will only further exacerbate the barriers the women of Indiana face in obtaining and paying for health care. To learn more about these bans and how they harm women, check out our factsheet here.

This radical new law in Indiana provides another example of the many extreme measures that, left unchecked, would be the worst setback for women in a generation. Similar bills are moving quickly through the state legislatures and women’s reproductive rights and health advocates are doing what they can to stop them. We will continue to carefully monitor these bills and encourage you to check back to keep abreast of developments.

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