Indiana Planned Parenthood clinics recommend services elsewhere

** FILE ** Betty Cockrum, left, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and attorney Ken Faulk discuss a hearing in federal court where the group is seeking a injunction against a law ending most of their state funding, outside the Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis, Monday, June 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)** FILE ** Betty Cockrum, left, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and attorney Ken Faulk discuss a hearing in federal court where the group is seeking a injunction against a law ending most of their state funding, outside the Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis, Monday, June 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Indiana Planned Parenthood clinics are telling potential patients that the non-abortion services they provide are readily available elsewhere, despite claims made by the group’s national spokeswoman that the state’s funding cuts will deprive poor women of basic medical care.

The referrals were made during calls to numerous clinics made by a pro-life group that frequently targets Planned Parenthood with video and audio stings.

In a video posted on YouTube.com early Wednesday, Live Action juxtaposes the recorded phone calls with footage of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards on CNN saying laws in Indiana and elsewhere barring Medicaid funding for abortion providers would deny birth control, Pap smears and other OB/GYN care.

In the CNN clip, Ms. Richards says she gets letters “every day” from women saying, “I can’t believe that the state legislature or the U.S. Congress is gonna tell me I can’t get [care] where I’ve been going to Planned Parenthood for years for my preventive care, for my birth control, and they’re telling me now I can’t go to the health-care provider that I trust.”

In the recorded calls to Indiana Planned Parenthood clinics, however, callers were told they could get the requested services from other clinics and their designated primary-care physicians, which all Medicaid recipients have.

The YouTube clip features audio recordings of phone calls to five Planned Parenthood clinics from a Live Action sting artist, who doesn’t identify herself as such.

When the caller “finds out” that Planned Parenthood can’t see Medicaid patients, she asks the clinic representative whether there’s somewhere else to go, and they all
respond affirmatively.

A Terre Haute clinic worker says, “if you have Medicaid, you should have a primary-care physician listed with your Medicaid.” A Planned Parenthood representative in Michigan City gives similar advice about getting a “Well Woman” health-care screenings, saying “your primary doctor should be able to do that. I mean, that’s what they’re there for.”

Planned Parenthood representatives in Fort Wayne and Merrillville both give the caller specific recommendations of local community health-care centers. The Merrillville clinic representative specifies, when asked, that “they have the same services we have.”

According to a statement Wednesday from Live Action, the group called 16 of Indiana’s 28 Planned Parenthood outlets and all of them gave out similar advice — that Medicaid patients had other avenues to receive health care.

Since the calls were made, the Indiana law barring Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, estimated at $1.4 million, has been stayed by a federal judge and the legal wrangling continued Tuesday.

The Obama administration had intervened on Planned Parenthood’s behalf and threatened the $5 billion Indiana gets from the federal government to help fund the state-federal health insurance plan for the poor and disabled, which has 1 million Indiana clients. According to wire-service reports, Planned Parenthood serves about 9,300 Indiana Medicaid recipients.

In previous stings against Planned Parenthood, Live Action has accused representatives of the nation’s largest abortion provider of making false claims about the non-abortion-health care it performs, specifically being an important provider of mammograms.

“According to Planned Parenthood’s own statistics, their 28 clinics serve less than 1% of Indiana Medicaid patients, yet they do more than 50% of Indiana abortions,”

Live Action founder Lila Rose said in Wednesday’s statement, going on to note that “there are over 800 other Medicaid providers available to these women in the counties with Planned Parenthood clinics alone.”

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