News and Commentary

Federal Appeals Court Forces Ohio To Fund Planned Parenthood

In 2016, Ohio passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars, which Gov. John Kasich dutifully signed into law.

On Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling blocking that law, mandating that Ohio taxpayers fund abortions.

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said the court has essentially ruled that corporations now have a right to public tax dollars, approximately $1.5 million annually.

“The Constitution does not give private corporations the right to taxpayer dollars,” Gonidakis said. “Planned Parenthood receives countless tax dollars a year from hardworking Ohioans, which frees up their budget to fund their real priorities: abortion on demand. We trust that pro-life Attorney General Mike DeWine will defend this law that protects the conscience rights of Ohio taxpayers at the Supreme Court, and that activist judges won’t get the final say in this matter.”

Planned Parenthood maintains that none of those tax dollars go to abortions, refusing to admit the fact that those funds are entirely fungible.

U.S. Circuit Judge Helene White said the two Planned Parenthood affiliates had a right to taxpayer dollars because abortion was a “protected activity” outside of the government-funded programs.

“What they do claim is a right not to be penalized in the administration of government programs based on protected activity outside the programs,” she wrote for the three-judge panel.

Reuters reports that “White said the law had violated Planned Parenthood’s due process rights by requiring a health care provider surrender its right to provide legal abortions as a condition of participating in programs that have nothing to do with abortion.” More of the ruling written by White below:

The issue in the instant challenge is … whether Ohio may require a provider to surrender the right to provide safe and lawful abortions on its own “time and dime” as a condition of participating in government programs that have nothing to do with abortion.

Thus, as a condition of retaining access to abortion free of undue governmental interference, Ohio women must forego the extensive and subsidized access to health services under federal programs that they previously enjoyed. Although Ohio women do not have a right to the programs, they do have a right not to have their access to important health services curtailed because their major abortion providers opted to protect women’s abortion rights rather than yield to unconstitutional conditions.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said he is considering an appeal.