Governor Daniels is facing the Gordian Knot in his home state of Indiana and I’m guessing that by this time next week his political future will be cast.
The Indiana House and Senate have both passed, by what appears to be veto proof margins, a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks AND cuts Planned Parenthood off from all state and Medicaid funds. The bill is headed for Governor Daniels desk.
Let me note here that I don’t know a whole lot of specifics about Mitch Daniels. My perception is that he’s been an excellent governor for his state, he’s taken on the public employee unions and consistently won and he’s reduced the scope of government in his state, not a line most politicians can put on their resume. He also seems to have demonstrated a remarkable ability to stuff a bunch of feet in his mouth simultaneously.
OK, now to his conundrum. Daniels is solidly pro-life and apparently has an excellent record in Indiana on life issues. He’s also done an excellent job of dealing with state spending. Rubber meet road…
family planning in Indiana is a fiscal as well as a social issue. Half of all births in the state are covered by Medicaid. If Daniels signs the Senate version of the bill, he would likely be giving up $4 million in federal dollars and bringing the state into a costly legal battle.
Because federal law blocks states from choosing which organizations can provide family planning services to Medicaid patients, the measure could cost the state all federal funding for family planning. Planned Parenthood is prepared to sue if the proposal is signed into law. They also estimate that the move would cost the state $68 million in Medicaid expenses for unintended pregnancies by reducing birth control access.
You can bet your last farthing that both PP and the Obama Administration will take the state to court. They will likely win in the opening rounds and the case(s) will be decided at the appellate level at a minimum.
You can also bet that same farthing that if Daniels vetos this bill he’s done as a potential Presidential candidate.
Personally I think he could veto the bill and make a decent case for doing so. I also know that a large segment of Republican primary voters could not care less about his reasoning, frankly me included.
It’s gonna be an interesting next few days…