Breaking: Mitch Daniels to sign bill defunding Indiana Planned Parenthood

The politics of this were easy, the policy a bit more complicated. It wasn’t a simple choice of “cut ’em off or don’t cut ’em off.” Federal law provides that a state can’t be selective in allocating Medicaid funds to medical providers who serve Medicaid patients. By signing the bill, Daniels would be taking a risk that the feds will withdraw the state’s Medicaid funding entirely as a penalty. By not signing the bill, he’d be signaling to social conservatives who are already suspicious of him over the infamous “truce” comments that he won’t go to bat for them if he’s elected president. What’s an aspiring national candidate to do?

Looks like he’s running:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said today he will sign a controversial bill that cuts off government funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Indiana will become the first state to take such an action.

“I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position,” said Daniels, a Republican…

Daniels said he commissioned a review of services in Indiana and “can confirm that all non-abortion services, whether family planning or basic women’s health, will remain readily available” in all of Indiana’s 92 counties.

His message to Planned Parenthood as the screaming begins: “Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions.” Exactly. We’re constantly assured by the left that abortions are only the teeny-tiniest insignificant little part of the services that PP provides. Should be easy for them to go cold turkey, then, if they’re keen on that Medicaid money. Nevertheless, to no one’s surprise, they’re already planning a court battle.

As I say, though, politically this was an easy call. He’s got a ready answer now for any social cons who challenge him on his “truce” remarks — the proof’s in the pudding — and as Philip Klein smartly notes, the attacks he’ll inevitably draw from the left on the bill will only boost his credibility with the base. He should make his decision within the next two weeks, now that the Indiana legislative session is almost over. When he does, he’ll have a campaign “kitchen cabinet” already in place and ready to go, with Haley Barbour sure to come aboard sometime sooner rather than later. Exit question for veteran HA readers: You know who this doesn’t help? Mitt Romney!