Ohio to challenge ruling that Planned Parenthood has a ‘right’ to taxpayer dollars
COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed that he will appeal a court panel’s ruling last week that the state cannot defund Planned Parenthood.
Last Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Ohio cannot enforce a 2016 law barring federal health subsidies to any entity that commits or promotes elective abortions. Twenty-eight Planned Parenthood facilities in the state stood to lose almost $1.5 million, and so the abortion giant sued.
Judge Helene White ruled that Planned Parenthood has a “due process right” to perform abortions and making tax dollars contingent on not perform abortions violated its “right not to be penalized in the administration of government programs based on protected activity outside the programs.”
The state’s Republican attorney general continues to reject that reasoning.
“After reviewing the Sixth Circuit panel decision, the Ohio Attorney General’s office will request en banc review,” DeWine’s office announced Monday. “Nothing in the Constitution requires Ohio to use its funding discretion under these programs to support abortion providers, and we will appeal to the full Sixth Circuit.”
“We are blessed to have an amazing Attorney General and future Governor!” Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis tweeted in response to the news.
Planned Parenthood immediately denounced the AG’s announcement. “This is yet another example of Attorney General Mike DeWine’s wasting Ohioans’ tax dollars,” Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio spokesperson Nicole Evans said, according to the Toledo Blade.
Planned Parenthood’s defenders claim that defending is unnecessary and unjust because the funds cannot be spent directly on abortions, and because the majority of its locations in the state don’t perform onsite abortions. All provide abortion referrals, however, and DeWine argued before the Sixth Circuit that the funds still indirectly supported the organization’s abortion business.
Patients could “visit Planned Parenthood to receive program services but get counseling about abortion and receive a referral for one,” he wrote in his brief, as evidenced by a Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio representative’s admission that “a patient could be referred through Ohio’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Project but end up at a surgical center for an abortion.”
“PPSWO’s Chief Operating Officer admitted that PPSWO does not actually compare its costs for Breast and Cervical Cancer Project services to the revenue that comes in through that program’s vouchers,” DeWine continued. “Any surplus from these vouchers would go toward Planned Parenthood’s general overhead for health centers, the activities of which include abortion counseling and referrals.”
If the full Sixth Circuit reaffirms White’s ruling, Ohio would have to decide whether to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.