WASHINGTON The Supreme Court will not disturb a lower court ruling that blocks Indiana's effort to strip Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood because the organization performs abortions among its medical services.
The justices did not comment Tuesday in rejecting the state's appeal of a federal appeals court ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state law targeting Planned Parenthood went too far. Indiana is among more than a dozen states that have enacted or considered laws to cut off taxpayer money to organizations that provide abortion.
The law aimed to deny Planned Parenthood funds from the joint federal-state Medicaid health program for the poor that are used for general health services including cancer screening.
The case now goes back to federal court in Indianapolis to determine whether a temporary injunction blocking the 2011 law should be made permanent.
But American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ken Falk says he believes the state will drop the case.
Falk says the court decisions have held that Indiana can't deny women the right to choose their own medical providers. The state Legislature tried to deny Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions.
"We are happy that the Supreme Court's action lets stand the Appeals Court ruling that the State does not have plenary authority to exclude a class of providers for any reason," Jane Henegar, Executive Director of the ACLU of Indiana, said in a statement.
"Federal law protects the right of Medicaid patients to choose a health care provider free of interference from the State."
Planned Parenthood says the Supreme Court's order is a victory for women's health.
"While the state has been trying to score political points and wasting taxpayer dollars, we've been standing up for the Hoosiers who count on us every day," Betty Cockrum, Planned Parenthood of Indiana's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We look forward to the day the preliminary injunction in this case becomes permanent."
The Indiana attorney general's office didn't have any immediate comment.