A federal court in Ohio has ruled that the state should be permitted to cut off funding from abortion provider Planned Parenthood, breaking with a lower court ruling that prevented it from doing so.
In an 11–5 decision, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Ohio state law which prevents state funds from being allocated to abortion clinics “does not violate the Constitution because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”
The original Ohio law, which was passed by a Republican-controlled legislature and signed by former Gov. John Kasich in 2016, prevents the state from funding for health service centers that perform or promote non-therapeutic abortions.
What else did the ruling say?
Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote that Planned Parenthood had failed to show that the law places an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions. The law does “not violate a woman’s right to obtain an abortion. It does not condition a woman’s access to any of these public health programs on refusing to obtain an abortion,” Sutton wrote, as reported by National Review.
“It makes these programs available to every woman, whether she seeks an abortion or not,” he added. “Nor, on this record, has there been any showing that the Ohio law will limit the number of clinics that offer abortions in the state.”
What was Planned Parenthood’s response?
Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement that the new ruling will “roll back the gains to public health — harming women’s health, children’s health, and the health of families across Ohio.”
“This is an incredible loss for our community. The law reduces access to sex education programs that teach young people about healthy relationships, and how to prevent STIs and unplanned pregnancies,” added Kersha Deibel, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Southwest Ohio Region, as reported by CNN.
“This law would have an outsized impact on groups who have historically faced systemic barriers in accessing quality health care, including people with low incomes and communities of color,” she said. “Blocking access to education programs for Ohio’s most underserved is unethical and downright dangerous.”
What was the response of the pro-life community?
“Ohio Right to Life is absolutely thrilled that Planned Parenthood will not get any more of our state tax dollars,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Thanks to this very encouraging decision, Ohioans of conscience won’t have to worry about whether their tax dollars are going towards abortions.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of pro-life organization, Susan B. Anthony List, dubbed Tuesday “Taxpayer Freedom from abortion Day,” in a celebratory post on Twitter.