The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday denied an appeal [order list, PDF] by the state of Indiana challenging a lower court decision that blocked patient reimbursement through Medicaid if the health providers performed abortions as a part of overall medical care. Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] is one of the largest providers that can now continue to receive Medicaid funding in Indiana. Indiana's law went further than federal law, which already bans Medicaid funds to pay for abortions in most instances. Specifically, the measure, passed in 2011, blocked the Indiana Department of Health [official website] from signing contracts with any group that performs abortions, except hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. It was later reversed by a federal appeals court, permanently blocking [JURIST report] the law's enforcement.
Reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] remain a controversial issue across the US. In March North Dakota's governor signed [JURIST report] restrictive abortion laws, which were challenged [JURIST report] earlier this month by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy website]. Earlier in March the Arkansas legislature voted to override [JURIST report] Governor Mike Beebe's recent veto of the Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act [Act 301, PDF], which bans abortions "of an unborn human individual whose heartbeat has been detected ... and is twelve (12) weeks or greater gestation." That law has since been blocked [JURIST report] by a federal judge. Days earlier Arkansas lawmakers voted to override the governor's veto [JURIST reports] of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act [HB 1037, PDF] which bans most abortions in the state 20 weeks after conception. That law made Arkansas the eighth US state to ban or restrict abortions after 20 weeks. Similar laws restricting reproductive rights are currently facing legal challenges in Arizona and Georgia [JURIST reports].