WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, today urged a federal appeals court - on behalf of 41 members of Congress and more than 25,000 Americans - to reverse a lower court decision and uphold an Indiana law that prohibits federal funds from going to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The ACLJ filed an amicus brief backing the Indiana law saying it is consistent with federal statutes and is constitutionally sound.
In May, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1210 into law - a measure that prohibits the distribution of federal Medicaid funds it receives to organizations like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions. Planned Parenthood, backed by the Obama Administration, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law. A federal district court granted a motion for a preliminary injunction putting the enforcement of the law on hold.
"The state of Indiana and other states do have the constitutional authority to determine how it spends federal funds," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "The fact is that Planned Parenthood receives more than $350 million a year in taxpayer funds. Indiana's decision to no longer use federal money to fund the nation's largest abortion provider is not only a constitutionally sound decision, but one we hope is implemented in other states across the country."
The new law provides, in pertinent part: "An agency of the state may not: (1) enter into a contract with; or (2) make a grant to; any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed that involves the expenditure of state funds or federal funds administered by the state."
The lawsuit by Planned Parenthood claims the Indiana law violates a federal statute. But in a friend-of-the-court brief representing 41 members of Congress and more than 25,000 Americans, the ACLJ argues that the Indiana measure is appropriate and constitutional.
"HEA 1210 is not rendered unreasonable or inconsistent with federal Medicaid law simply because it bolsters Indiana's strong interests in encouraging childbirth and ensuring that abortions are not directly or indirectly subsidized by public funds," the brief contends. "Indiana may reasonably conclude that sending large sums of public funds to abortion providers that also provide non-abortion services within the same organization serves to indirectly subsidize abortion activities."
The brief asserts that Indiana has a legal right to determine how the Medicaid dollars entrusted to it for administering are distributed.
According to the brief: "Federal Medicaid statutes and regulations give States broad discretion to craft the rules applicable to their Medicaid programs. Congress left intact the States' authority to determine what makes an entity qualified to provide Medicaid services, 42 U.S.C. section 1396a(p)(1), while ensuring that Medicaid recipients may utilize any practitioner deemed to be qualified under State law, 42 U.S.C. section 1396a(a)(23). Since HEA 1210 does not limit a beneficiary's ability to choose among providers that are deemed to be qualified, it is consistent with federal Medicaid law."
Further, the ACLJ brief, which is posted here, urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to overturn the lower court decision saying it is concerned by the Plaintiff's "novel claim that abortion providers have a constitutional right to perform abortions and receive public funds; if accepted, this argument would unduly restrict the policy discretion that Congress and state and local governments have to decide how to spend public funds."
The ACLJ represents the entire Republican delegation representing Indiana in the U.S. House: Marlin Stutzman, Todd Rokita, Dan Burton, Mike Pence, Larry Bucshon, Todd Young.
The ACLJ represents a total of 41 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, members of the 112th Congress: Michele Bachmann, Larry Bucshon, Dan Burton, Francisco "Quico" Canseco, Michael Conaway, John Fleming, Bill Flores, Randy Forbes, Virginia Foxx, Trent Franks, Scott Garrett, Vicky Hartzler, Jeb Hensarling, Tim Huelskamp, Randy Hultgren, Lynn Jenkins, Bill Johnson, Walter Jones, Jim Jordan, Mike Kelly, Steve King, John Kline, Doug Lamborn, Jeff Landry, James Lankford, Robert Latta, Kenny Marchant, Thaddeus McCotter, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jeff Miller, Alan Nunnelee, Ron Paul, Mike Pence, Joe Pitts, Mike Pompeo, Todd Rokita, Chris Smith, Lamar Smith, Marlin Stutzman, Glenn Thompson, and Todd Young.
The ACLJ also represents more than 25,000 Americans who have signed on to the Committee to Defund Planned Parenthood's Abortions at the State Level.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ is online at www.aclj.org.
Gene Kapp (757) 575-9520
SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice