Washington (CNN) - Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said Friday he will sign a bill to cut off much of the federal funds aimed for Planned Parenthood's chapter in his state. The group had said the bill will eliminate key health services for many women in the state.
"I commissioned a careful review of access to services across the state and can confirm that all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women's health, will remain readily available in every one of our 92 counties," he said in a written statement.
House Bill 1210, which passed both houses of the state legislature by large margins, will reject about $2 million of the $3 million in federal money the group receives for preventive health services for women, including birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings and other tests in Indiana.
"It's outrageous that Governor Mitch Daniels has decided to abandon his short-lived truce on social issues to sign a dangerous bill that would have a devastating impact on women's health and take away health care from thousands of women in Indiana, leaving them at greater risk for undetected cancers, untreated infections and unintended pregnancies," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement Friday.
"Clearly, Governor Daniels would rather play politics with women's health than show leadership and fiscal responsibility in rejecting a bill that will ultimately cost the state millions in federal funding. If Governor Daniels chooses to run for president, his decision to sign this bill will make it harder for him to win key women voters," she continued.
This bill is the first in the country to take this type of action against the organization, but several other states are considering similar ones. Planned Parenthood has called it an "unprecedented attack" on women's health care.
Proponents of the bill have said they don't want federal money going to an organization that performs abortions, while federal law prevents its money being used for abortion services.
Planned Parenthood has said its federal dollars do not fund abortions although critics believe any such grants indirectly help the group to provide abortions by giving it money to fund its other services.
"Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions," Daniels said in his statement.
The measure will also restrict access to abortions for pregnancies of no more than 20 weeks putting some of the tightest restrictions in the nation. Five states now have a similar restriction.
"I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position," he said in the statement.
Planned Parenthood said it believes the bill would cost the state about $4 million separately in federal Medicaid dollars because the state could separate out which organizations could offer services to their patients.
But Daniels said he has taken actions to prevent that from happening. "I have ordered the Family and Social Services Administration to see that Medicaid recipients receive prompt notice of nearby care options. We will take any actions necessary to ensure that vital medical care is, if anything, more widely available than before.
It is a controversial bill, and some political analysts thought it might put Daniels, as he weighs a presidential bid, in a tough spot. He has called for a "truce" on the pushing of social issues as he thinks more of the national emphasis should be put on fighting the nation's mounting debt, which he has said is crippling. The governor however has also a strong record of opposing abortion rights.
Daniels told the Indianapolis Star on Thursday he had not made up his mind regarding a presidential bid but hoped to make a decision soon. The governor will sign an education reform bill on Saturday that requires schools to annually evaluate teachers and base employment decisions on those evaluations. He will have a media availability at that signing and is expected to be pressed on the prospects of entering the presidential sweepstakes. His spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, told CNN Friday that event will be focused on his education agenda and that he still has not made up his mind and is not expected to have any announcements regarding his future.
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