(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Supporters of Planned Parenthood of Indiana took to the steps of the state capitol in Indianapolis Tuesday.
They were objecting to Republican efforts to cut off funding to the organization. About 500 members held signs, cheered, and jeered pro-life counter protesters during the rally according to the Indianapolis Star.
Planned Parenthood said seventeen bills addressing reproductive rights have been filed in Indiana’s legislature this year.
One of those bills authored by conservative State Rep. Matt Ubelhor (R-Bloomfield), House Bill 1205, seeks to end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions.
Planned Parenthood says it receives about $3 million annually in Medicaid reimbursements for patient care. The organization insists that money is not used to fund abortion procedures but to perform other services.
But, conservative lawmakers have targeted that funding for Planned Parenthood because it still provides 5,000 abortions per year accounting for six percent of the service they provide.
Board member Wayne Zink compared that number to what else Planned Parenthood does including 26,000 Pap tests, 74,000 screenings for STDs, 21,000 pregnancy tests and counseling sessions, and education programs that reached 22,000 young people.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana president Betty Cockrum painted the issue as a battle of the sexes.
"This is unquestionably a legislative assault on women, orchestrated primarily by men," said Cockrum. "We're sending the message loud and clear that Hoosiers want lawmakers to stay out of their doctors' offices and focus on the real issues: the state budget, jobs and education."
Cockrum said a cut in funding could cause the organization to close some of its 28 offices around the state.
“We could avoid that, but of course we’d have to take a look at it. We really want to be out there to provide these services,” she said.
Ralliers also pointed to Indiana 6th District Congressman Mike Pence as an opponent saying he “has made it his primary mission to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”