The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

State News

June 11, 2013

Planned Parenthood in Indiana, Kentucky, to merge



The administrative office will be in Indianapolis. Kentucky will have 14 seats on the new 35-member board.

Planned Parenthood provides an array of health services, including Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, STD testing and treatment, birth control and pregnancy tests.

It also provides abortion services, which has made it a target for anti-abortion and conservative groups.

Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter predicted the merger would influence the number of abortions. Fichter judged Kentucky’s abortion laws as weaker than those in the Hoosier state.

“This merger will likely result in Planned Parenthood expanding its abortion business south of the Ohio River and driving the abortion rate higher in Kentucky while avoiding Indiana’s abortion laws,” he said.

He said his group will continue to work with others to offer “positive alternatives” to abortion.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is waging a legal fight with Indiana over a 2011 state law stripping Medicaid funds from the organization.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear an appeal of a ruling that threw out the state law. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a fierce opponent of Planned Parenthood during his time in Congress, has said his staff is reviewing the case and he’ll decide what to do after weighing his legal options.

Cockrum said Monday that the legal fight didn’t factor into the Planned Parenthood merger between states separated by the Ohio River.

Mergers have been common within Planned Parenthood. At one time the national organization had more than 200 affiliates; now there are 73 nationwide.

The latest round of mergers has stemmed largely from aftereffects of the federal Affordable Care Act, Greene said. The law’s structure favors larger health organizations “that can take advantage of economies of scale,” Greene said.

In the next few months, the merged organization will spend much of its time assessing health needs in Kentucky, Cockrum said.

“It’s important for us to understand what it looks like and where the needs are greatest ... so we can best meet them,” she said.



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