Court of Appeals Backs Ohio’s Planned Parenthood Funding Cut
By JACK CROWE
March 12, 2019 1:17 PM
A federal court of appeals on Tuesday ruled that the state can cutoff funding to Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions, breaking with a lower court that blocked the legislation.
In an 11-5 split decision, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the Ohio state law prohibiting the allocation of state funds to organizations that perform or promote “non-therapeutic” abortions “does not violate the Constitution because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”
Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for the majority, argued that Planned Parenthood had failed to demonstrate that the law would place a “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion — the standard established by a 1992 Supreme Court decision.
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.
“It makes these programs available to every woman, whether she seeks an abortion or not,” he continued. “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.”
The legislation will prevent the Ohio department of health from passing funding, much of which comes from the federal government, to Planned Parenthood and other similar organizations, which will affect six state public health programs but will not impact Medicaid.
Writing for the minority, Judge Helen White argued in her dissent that the legislation “would result in an undue burden on a woman’s right to obtain non-therapeutic abortions if imposed directly.”