Federal appeals court OKs Ohio law aimed at abortion funding

Federal appeals court OKs Ohio law aimed at abortion funding

A majority of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that OH can cut state funding to Planned Parenthood because the organization performs abortions, overturning a lower court ruling that blocked the state from stripping the network of clinics of the money.

The state passed a law in 2016 that bars the health department from funding organizations that "perform nontherapeutic abortions".

Judge Jeffrey Sutton, who wrote the majority opinion, said the state's law did impose a condition on funding, but the condition was not unconstitutional.

"The state also may choose not to subsidize constitutionally protected activities". Just as it has no obligation to provide a platform for an individual's free speech, say a Speaker's Corner in downtown Columbus, it has no obligation to pay for a woman's abortion.

Ohio Right to Life responded to the ruling on Twitter by calling on the state's department of health to deny any public funding for abortion facilities.

Planned Parenthood is a national target because of its role as the largest US abortion provider.

Dr. Leana Wen, the organization's national president, said the ruling will "roll back the gains to public health - harming women's health, children's health and the health of families across OH".

A district court agreed with Planned Parenthood and permanently enjoined the State from enforcing the 2016 law. That money is mostly from the federal government and supports education and prevention programs. More than 170,000 sexually transmitted infection tests were administered, as were more than 18,000 HIV tests, she said in a statement.

"This is an incredible loss for our community". Planned Parenthood claimed the law indirectly achieved what the state could not directly prohibit.

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The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to reverse a decision made by the lower court in an 11 - 6 vote in Cincinnati, which could result in an appeal to the US Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit appeals court agreed with the lower-court ruling for an injunction against the 2016 law, prompting then-Attorney General Mike DeWine a year ago to seek a full-court hearing.

The court found that while OH can not condition a benefit that requires recipients to sacrifice their constitutional rights, "that condition does not violate the Constitution because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions", the decision reads.

"The 6th Circuit ruled that no corporation has a Constitutional right to our tax dollars and they got this right!" "Thanks to this very encouraging decision, Ohioans of conscience won't have to worry about whether their tax dollars are going towards abortions". "Requiring students to promote the phone number of the largest abortion mill in the nation is repulsive and unconstitutional".

Pro-life advocates welcomed the decision, including Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life.

A USA district court ruling had agreed with Planned Parenthood that denying the organization funding if it continued to perform abortions violated the organization's right to due process, and that denying funding for promoting abortion violated its free speech rights. Planned Parenthood's website says its goal is to deliver "vital reproductive health care". The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a similar ruling in 2012 upholding an in law. "This ruling must serve as an alarm bell".

The timing of the decision spoke volumes, said Iris Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio.

"It's no coincidence that this ruling came down on the same day the [Ohio] House heard testimony for a bill that would use taxpayer dollars to implement a costly, anti-abortion miseducation campaign in schools and the likely Senate committee vote for the unsafe six-week abortion ban - a bill that Governor DeWine has promised to sign", she said in a statement. Planned Parenthood is estimated to receive about a quarter of all Title X funding.

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