The 7th U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago has ruled that the state of Indiana cannot block funding to Planned Parenthood just because the organization provides abortions.  According to the Associated Press, the appellate court upheld the ruling of U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, who said that Gov. Mitch Daniels (R)'s order to strip Planned Parenthood of funding was a violation of patients' right to seek health care from the provider of their choice.

Daniels signed the bill blocking Planned Parenthood's access to federal money in May of this year.  Judge Pratt ruled against the state a month later in a suit brought by Planned Parenthood.  Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in June that the state would appeal to the 7th District, but now that appeal has been struck down by a three-judge panel.

While the Appeals Court did uphold the majority of Pratt's ruling it recommend modifications to her preliminary injunction against the state.

UPDATE: Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens has released a statement.

“Today’s ruling means politics won’t interfere with the health care that more than 9,000 women in Indiana rely on. Ending funding for birth control, well-woman exams, or cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers is badly out of touch with the needs of American women and families. That is why the public stands with Planned Parenthood, just as the court did today."

“We shouldn’t have to go to court to protect women’s access to basic health care in this country. Planned Parenthood health center doors are open today and they’ll be open tomorrow."

“What Governor Mitch Daniels tried to do in Indiana, Mitt Romney would do in all 50 states if he’s elected. It is unacceptable, especially at a time when women need more access to health care, for a politician to tell women that they cannot go to Planned Parenthood health centers to get birth control, well-woman exams, or cancer screenings.”

[image via Flickr Commons]