By Dave Andrusko
On March 12, NRL News Today reported that the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had upheld an Ohio law that made entities that perform or promote abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, ineligible to participate in six state-funded health programs.
Ten days later, in a letter dated March 21, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) informed Planned Parenthood that as of April 20, its 26 locations would cease to receive state money.
Cleveland’s Metro News reported that in 2018 Planned Parenthood was given a total of $600,000 in grants by the Ohio Department of Health.
Iris Harvey, the president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, told the Associated Press that the decision was “heartless” and said that it puts “politics over people.”
The OHD letter health department came just hours before Judge Michael Barrett temporarily blocked a state ban on the dismemberment of living unborn babies.
As we reported, the 11-6 decision, written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, overturned an April 2018 decision by a three-judge panel of the same circuit that had upheld a 2016 decision by Judge Michael Barrett striking down the law making Planned Parenthood ineligible to receive the state funds..
The plaintiffs —Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region—argued that the law “imposes an unconstitutional condition on public funding in violation of the Due Process Clause.”
But in a key conclusion, citing prior Supreme Court decisions, Judge Sutton wrote that “the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.” That right is held by the woman alone.
Citing the principles established by prior Supreme Court decisions, Judge Sutton went on to concluded that
These principles establish the following line between what Ohio may do and what it may not do. It may choose not to fund a private organization’s health and education initiatives. Private organizations do not have a constitutional right to obtain governmental funding to support their activities. The State also may choose not to subsidize constitutionally protected activities. Just as it has no obligation to provide a platform for an individual’s free speech, say a Speaker’s Corner in downtown Columbus, it has no obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion. Case after case establishes that a government may refuse to subsidize abortion services. …Both the United States and Ohio have done exactly that, whether through the Hyde Amendment, or through Ohio Revised Code. (Internal citations omitted for clarity.)
Sutton noted, “The only other circuit [the 7th in2012] in the country to squarely address this issue reached the same conclusion.”