Indiana is poised to become the first state to cut off all government funding for the Planned Parenthood organization, providing a significant victory for the anti-abortion movement but presenting a political predicament for the state's governor, Mitch Daniels, as he considers running for president.
The Indiana House voted 66-32 Wednesday to approve a bill cutting the $3 million in federal money the state distributes to the organization for family planning and health programs.
The measure also bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy unless there is a substantial threat to the woman's life or health, and requires women seeking an abortion be told that life begins at conception and that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital. The Senate approved the measure earlier this month.
The action opens a new legislative front in the conservative assault on Planned Parenthood, which has been targeted for its abortion services. Efforts to cut off federal funds in Congress failed this month, but bills are moving in a number of statehouses.
Indiana's measure is now in Daniels' hands, which could force him to make a decision between the state's fiscal interests and a prime goal of his party's social conservatives.
If he signs the measure, Indiana risks losing $4 million in federal grants for family planning services. If he vetoes it, Daniels could antagonize ardent social conservatives already wary of his public statements about the importance of focusing on economic issues this year.
But signing it also could provide Daniels with the political cover he needs from those who question his commitment to social conservative causes. He could point to it throughout the presidential campaign as evidence that opposition to abortion rights and other social causes are part of his political makeup. A Daniels spokeswoman said the governor would not comment until the bill arrives on his desk for action.