Federal Appeals Court Rules Ohio's Law Defunding Planned Parenthood is Constitutional

Federal Appeals Court Rules Ohio's Law Defunding Planned Parenthood is Constitutional
Photo by Emanuel Wallace

The GOP's long battle against reproductive rights and women's health was given a boost by a federal appeals court that ruled this week that Ohio's move to defund Planned Parenthood is constitutional.

The decision reverses an earlier decision by a federal judge who struck down the 2016 law, which was signed by then Governor John Kasich and would prevent the state from contracting with any non-therapeutic abortion provider for healthcare services, as unconstitutional and a decision before that by a three-judge panel to do the same.

In the 11-6 ruling (as Politico noted, four of the 11 were judges appointed by Trump, but three of those four replaced Republicans), the majority found the law “does not violate the Constitution because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”

The minority assailed the decision as an attack on constitutional rights, writing the law “would result in an undue burden on a woman’s right to obtain non-therapeutic abortions if imposed directly.”

Planned Parenthood had been awarded state work doing HIV testing, sex education, cancer screening and healthcare services for the poor. No tax dollars were used for non-therapeutic abortions.

About $1.5 million from six state programs for PP are on the line.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who as Ohio Attorney General sought the appeals court's review of the earlier decision, told the Columbus Dispatch: "I'm pleased with the decision."

Sherrod Brown, in a statement, said: “Today’s ruling rewards a political stunt by state lawmakers that has real consequences for Ohio women and families. By blocking funding for women to access potentially lifesaving healthcare – including breast and cervical cancer screenings and infant mortality prevention programs – Ohio lawmakers are putting politics over the health and safety of their constituents.”

As we noted when the appeals court agreed to take up the case, the massive push to defund Planned Parenthood began in 2015 when now debunked videos surfaced accusing the health clinic of "selling baby parts." After a deep investigation, it was proven that there were never any sales of fetal tissue.
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