Appeals Court says Ohio may not de-fund entities that perform or promote abortions

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-life Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

This afternoon the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2016 decision by Judge Michael Barrett who granted a permanent injunction preventing Ohio’s law which de-funds entities that perform or promote abortions from taking effect.

“The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the wrong decision when it comes to defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio,” said Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis. “The Constitution does not give private corporations the right to taxpayer dollars. Planned Parenthood receives countless tax dollars a year from hardworking Ohioans, which frees up their budget to fund their real priorities: abortion on demand.”

He added, “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.”

The plaintiffs were Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region. They argued (according to the 30-page decision written by Judge Helene White) that the law was “in retaliation for their constitutionally protected advocacy for abortion rights and affiliation with other organizations that also advocate for abortion rights and/or provide abortion services.”

The three-judge panel concluded, “The district court correctly determined that [the law] violates Plaintiffs’ rights of free speech and association.”

However when Judge Barrett’s decision first came down, Ohio Right to Life correctly observed

Judge Barrett’s decision is a clear violation of states’ rights and the conscience rights of taxpayers. It is the public policy of the state of Ohio to prefer childbirth over abortion, and we should be allowed to allocate funds accordingly. … As was the case in Roe v. Wade, yet again, an activist judge is fabricating ‘rights’ out of thin air to the benefit of the abortion industry. Ohio has hundreds of free to low-cost women’s health care providers that don’t perform abortions, yet we are forced to subsidize one that does. In 2015, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortions, all while receiving $553.7 million in taxpayer dollars. That accounts for an obscene 42 percent of its total revenue.