Colorado Lawsuit Challenges $18 Million in Illegal Planned Parenthood Contracts

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 26, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Lawsuit Challenges $18 Million in Illegal Planned Parenthood Contracts

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 26
, 2010

Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) — A lawsuit filed by a pro-life legal group is challenging $18 million in what the Alliance Defense Fund calls illegal contracts the Planned Parenthood abortion business entered into with the state of Colorado. ADF attorneys have appealed the decision of a Colorado court to dismiss the suit.

The contracts were awarded last year to Planned Parenthood affiliate and a Boulder abortion provider, Warren Hearn.

“The democratic process and the rule of law should not be sacrificed for the sake of benefiting Planned Parenthood’s bottom line,” lead counsel Barry Arrington told LifeNews.com today.

"The governor and other state officials are not at liberty to ignore the will of the people on this matter. Colorado voters amended the state constitution to prohibit tax dollar subsidies to abortion providers, so it’s the right decision to take this to the court of appeals," Arrington added.

The lawsuit, filed in October 2008 on behalf of Colorado taxpayer Mark Hotaling contends that five contracts Gov. Bill Ritter and the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Jim Martin, awarded to two abortion businesses unconstitutionally use taxpayer funds to subsidize abortion.

In 1984, Colorado voters approved the Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment to the Colorado Constitution, which prohibits the direct or indirect use of public funds to pay for abortion.

In 2001, the Health Department, under then-Executive Director Jane Norton, conducted an audit of the operations of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood and its affiliate Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation.

The department ended funding for Planned Parenthood after finding that it indirectly subsidized the abortion operations of its subsidiary.

ADF is complaining that, under Ritter and Martin, the department disregarded the ruling and, claiming to be using federal funds instead of state funds, awarded five funding contracts to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation and Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center.

Ritter came under fire from Archbishop Charles Chaput for claming to be pro-life but funding the nation’s biggest abortion business.

The lawsuit argues that the funding of their abortion operations is in direct violation of the Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment.

The appeal in Hotaling v. Ritter asks the Colorado Court of Appeals to reinstate the lawsuit, which seeks a legal declaration that the contracts violate the Colorado Constitution.

The suit also seeks an injunction that would prohibit the Colorado Department of Health from awarding further contracts to the two abortion providers.

“The people of Colorado felt strongly that no taxpayer should be forced to pay for a procedure that takes innocent human life. That’s why they amended the state constitution to put a stop to it,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden told LifeNews.com.

“This is a simple matter of the rule of law. Government officials cannot circumvent this amendment simply because they prefer to impose public funding for abortion on demand," he added.

Playing on Governor Ritter’s State of the State comments that he wanted to promote health care to create "a better future for our children and our children’s children," Chaput said it’s hard to imagine that without children.

"Planned Parenthood specializes in the business of preventing them," he wrote in the Catholic paper.

The initial decision to cut funding ultimately cost Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, a $16 million organization, $320,000 in state funds.

The abortion business argued that money for abortions and family planning were separate but an independent audit disputed those claims.

Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.telladf.org

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