Federal Court: Ohio Can Defund Planned Parenthood

Federal Appeals Court upholds Ohio law stripping Planned Parenthood of funding, saying it does not have a “Right” to perform Abortions

Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, by a vote of 11 to 6, granted a major victory to Ohio taxpayers Tuesday, ruling that the state does not have to fund abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

“Governments generally may do what they wish with public funds, a principle that allows them to subsidize some organizations, but not others,” said the 6th Circuit ruling written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton.

While women have a right to abortion, third parties such as Planned Parenthood do “not have a 14th Amendment right to perform abortions,” the decision says.

Ohio lawmakers tried to cut off the abortion group’s taxpayer funding after it was caught in multiple states allegedly selling aborted baby body parts. Then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the pro-life bill into law in 2016, but Planned Parenthood challenged it in court.

According to its 2018 annual report, Planned Parenthood lists 332,757 abortions, and a record $1.66 billion in revenue, including about half a billion in taxpayer subsidies.

Planned Parenthood’s president, Leana Wen, recently admitted that abortion is their “core mission.”

The justices also agreed that the government does not have an “obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion. Case after case establishes that a government may refuse to subsidize abortion services,” they wrote.

“The State may choose to subsidize what it wishes — whether abortion services or adoption services, whether stores that sell guns or stores that don’t,” the ruling continued.

The 6th Circuit’s jurisdiction covers the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has also issued a similar ruling in 2012 upholding an Indiana law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit went the other way in a challenge to a Utah law in 2016, over the objection of Neil M. Gorsuch, then sitting on that appeals court and now a Supreme Court justice.

The conflicts will make it hard for Supreme Court to avoid the issue, as it has tried to do recently, to the consternation of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Samuel A. Alito and Clarence Thomas.

While the Supreme Court has ruled that women have a right to an abortion, it has not said that abortionists have a right to perform them, the 6th Circuit wrote.

“The Supreme Court has never identified a freestanding right to perform abortions. To the contrary, it has indicated that there is no such thing,” the justices wrote, pointing to the 1992 ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey as evidence.

“Any doubt about the point is confirmed by the debate at hand in Casey,” the opinion said.

Planned Parenthood had claimed the law somehow burdened women’s access to abortion, but was not able to prove that was the case.

The justices said the Ohio 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.”

According to the ruling, the justices were not given any evidence that the law would close abortion clinics in the state. They noted that Planned Parenthood even told the court that it will not stop abortions if it loses taxpayer funding.

“Its vow to keep performing abortions sinks any pre-enforcement action, and any speculation about what would happen if it changed its mind is just that,” the ruling stated.

Ohio “makes these programs available to every woman, whether she seeks an abortion or not,” it 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 6th Circuit ruled that no corporation has a Constitutional Right to our tax dollars, and they got this right,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of the Ohio Right to Life organization.

“Thanks to this very encouraging decision, Ohioans won’t have to worry about whether their tax dollars are going toward abortions. We’re thrilled that Planned Parenthood will not get any more of our state tax dollars,” Gonidakis said.

In a friend-of-the-court brief, the Trump Administration had urged the judges to rule as they did Tuesday, as did 14 states that also filed friend-of-the-court briefs saying they had similar laws or prospective laws that would be jeopardized.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he was “pleased” by the ruling, “as he has long believed that the people of Ohio, through its state legislature, have the right to decide what it funds and what it doesn’t fund.”

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Source: Texas Politics

Federal Court: Ohio Can Defund Planned Parenthood

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